Will pivotal election bring peace to Iraq?

10:07, March 08, 2010      

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki casts his ballot at a polling station in Baghdad, capital of Iraq, on March 7, 2010. Iraq began its official voting for the country's crucial parliamentary election in the early morning on Sunday. This is the second national poll since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime from U.S.-led invasion in 2003. (Xinhua/Zhang Ning)

by Xinhua Writer Li Laifang

Iraq held its second parliamentary election on Sunday amid multiple mortar attacks and bombings, a sign that the country still faces various difficulties to realize peace and progress in reconstruction.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraq has seen humble progress in reconstruction, improvement of basic services while fierce political struggle and unstable security situation remain.

The general election will shape the political arena and is a test of the war-torn country's national reconciliation and democratic process.

Since Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki took office in May 2006, Iraqis have experienced a surge of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007, which left tens of thousands dead, then a serious political crisis with a boycott against the government among certain politicians, and a resurge of violence since the end of last June.

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