Iraqi elections: can't tell the players w/o a scorecard!
I'm trying to get this down properly, relying on MEMRI at http://http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=iraq&ID=IA20104
Voters will vote for a "lists" of candidates, which involve coalitions of smaller parties.
1. Iraqi National Alliance: includes Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. Dr Hussein Shahristani, a nuclear physicist persecuted by Hussein, is likely the lead candidate for Prime Minister if this list wins.
2. The Kurdish List: a union of two Kurdish parties, the KDP and PUK.
3. The Iraqis: headed by the current PM Allawi.
4. The Iraqi (singular!): headed by the current President Ghazi al-Yawer; mainly backed by various tribal groups.
5. The Iraqi Communist Party: hey, certain things just never seem to quite go away!
6. The Iraqi Islamic Party: largely Sunni--I'm not clear if this party has dropped out and called for a postponement of the election since the date of this MEMRI post (31 Dec 2004).
7. The Constitutional Monarchy Movement--headed by Sherif Ali, the claimant to the Hashemite throne; he says 69% of Iraqis want restoration of the old monarchy, overthrown in 1958. We'll see.
And various other parties too small to be of much notice. All in all, this looks promising, at least in terms of lack of sentiment among leading parties for shariah law. The only leading list/party with strong leanings toward theocracy would seem to be the Iraqi Islamic Party--but I doubt that a largely Sunni party is going to win control of a 60% Shiite majority Iraq.