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Parliamentary elections will be held across Iraq on 30 April. The election will be for the 328-member Council of Representatives which, in turn, will elect a new president and prime minister. The new prime minister will then appoint a cabinet. Over 250 political groupings, divided into approximately 100 lists and 39 coalitions, will compete in the election. The largest are the State of Law Coalition of current Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), the Shiite Muslim Sadrist Movement, which is loyal to Moqtadr al-Sadr, the Kurd-dominated Kurdistan Democratic Party and the remnants of the predominantly Sunni Iraqi National Movement (INM) or al-Iraqiya (the party has split into a number of smaller parts since 2011 due to internal rifts).
The election will be the first to be held in the absence of US military forces, which withdrew in 2011, and will provide the local security forces with a key test of their capabilities. Non-state armed groups are expected to attempt to disrupt polling in an effort to undermine the government and state and to raise tensions between opposing sectarian groupings. red24, therefore, anticipates a spike in both militant- and politically-motivated violence ahead of the election. Read more.