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The challenges facing Iraq after elections

The challenges facing Iraq after elections
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Dealing with the sectarian violence which has blighted the run up to the Iraqi poll is just one of several challenges which a future government will have to confront.

More than 9,000 candidates are competing for 328 parliamentary seats.

So for those who are elected how can they influence the future and can any one party come out on top?

Our correspondent in Iraq Mohammed Shaikhibrahim has been looking to the future with political analyst Wathiq Al-Hashimi.

Euronews: “What are the main challenges which face the Iraqi elections?”

Wathiq Al-Hashimi: “There are a number of very serious and difficult challenges more significant than 2005 or 2010. The first is the security challenge. Terrorism has tried to hit the democratic process. It is not just local but global represented by groups which are concentrated in the Middle East. There are fears they will strike at polling stations and among crowds. Its a huge problem facing the Iraqi government and people.
Then there is the challenge which is the political conflict which has not existed in Iraq before – the division between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. There is another challenge which is the possibility of a lack of participation in this ballot because the voters took part in previous elections and created the foundations for democracy. They sacrificed a lot but the results were not what they hoped for.”

Euronews: “What do you think the political landscape will be like in Iraq after these elections?”

Wathiq Al-Hashimi: “I expect the final results to be very close and for no party to win a majority. It will be difficult to form a government a process which may go on for more than a year. The President Jalal Talbani has been absent for over two years and the vice president has no power.
There will once again be external pressure from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the United States on the three main parties the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds as there are many common interests between them. So it will be a very difficult transition to the next stage after these elections.”