Baghdad Key in Electoral Battle

The two other main Shiite alliances are led by the ISCI and Sadrist-affiliated politicians.

The ISCI’s Muwatin, or Citizen, coalition is particularly interesting because, despite their religious bent, they are allied with a number of more secular candidates, including professors, intellectuals and unveiled females.

Competition between the three major Shiite Muslim political groups – the State of Law list, the Citizen list and the Sadrist movement’s allies – will be particularly intense in Baghdad’s mostly Shiite neighbourhoods.

Then in terms of the Sunni Muslim parties competing in Baghdad, most of these are concentrated under the umbrella of the man who has arguably become Iraq’s leading Sunni politician, Osama al-Nujaifi; he has also been the high profile Speaker of the House since 2010. His Mutahidoun, or United, coalition includes groups headed by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq and the Iraqi Islamic Party, very popular with Iraq’s Sunnis.

In Baghdad Sunni Muslim parties will be competing with one another in the mostly Sunni Muslim neighbourhoods but they’ll also be competing with their Shiite rivals in other, more mixed areas.

Another interesting religious group in Baghdad is that of Christian politicians – there are ten Christian political groups in Baghdad competing for the one quota seat allocated to them. These parties are competing for the votes of those Iraqi Christians left in Baghdad. Much of the country’s Christian minority has been displaced over the past few years – some say as many as 1 million have left – and some of the Iraqi Christian candidates actually travelled overseas to woo potential voters who emigrated.

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