Coalitions compete for Iraqi voters

(CNN) — The United Iraqi Alliance and Kurdish alliance — the Shiite-led and Kurdish coalitions that prevailed in the January 30 elections — are considered front-runners in Thursday’s parliamentary elections.

They will be joined by 17 other coalitions and scores of entities running independently — all jockeying for power in the 275-member body that will run Iraq for the next four years.

The International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan group that promotes democracy, issued a report on the election for which 19 coalitions and 307 political entities have registered with the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.

“Some political entities will participate as part of a coalition in some governorates [provinces], and as an individual political entity in other governorates. However, in order to participate in the election in a governorate, a coalition or political entity must have submitted a candidate list to the IECI for that governorate,” according to the institute’s Brief Guide to Iraq General Elections.

The institute describes each coalition in its report.

The United Iraqi Alliance encompasses the most powerful Shiite forces in the country such as the Dawa Party led by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. It also includes supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, the controversial Shiite cleric whose militia members fought against U.S. troops in 2004.

The Kurdish Coalition List is led by the two parties that predominate in the Kurdish region — the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, headed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdish Democratic Party, led by Massoud Barzani.

Other parties that are expected to fare well, Western officials said, are:

Other significant coalitions include:

Others are the Arabic List, Independent Karbala Coalition, Brotherhood and Peace List, Islamic Coalition, Justice and Future Coalition, al-Wafaa for Basrah Gathering, Furation-Human Rights, Watanion Gathering, Iraqi Sun, al-Khalas National Front and Unified National List.

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