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INTERVIEW: Iraq elections explained

By Al Jazeera,  April 29, 2014

Iraqi analyst Zaid al-Ali explains the political and security context within which residents will cast their votes.

“Given how volatile the situation has become, the government has implemented a number of measures to try to control violence on election day. This entire week is a holiday in Iraq; curfews are being imposed, and now even flights into Iraq are suspended, all supposedly for security.

What is new on this occasion is the role that race, religion and sectarianism are playing in the campaign. In 2010, when violence was comparatively low, Iraqis focused on corruption and governance issues in the campaign. Now because of the resurgence in violence in various parts of the country, Iraqis have retreated into survival mode and that is how the campaign is being shaped. Several electoral campaigns are being framed in very blatant terms, including messages such as “We are the only people who can defend you.”

In that context, Maliki is getting much of the blame for the failures of the past eight years and there is a significant campaign among many forces to make sure he is removed from office. We will have to wait and see how things play out, but there are significant cards that are being stacked against him.”

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