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Thread: top contenders in Iraq poll: survey 2/24/2010

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    top contenders in Iraq poll: survey 2/24/2010

    Foes Maliki and Allawi top contenders in Iraq poll: survey


    BAGHDAD, Feb 24, 2010 (AFP) - Coalitions led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and arch-rival ex-premier Iyad Allawi have emerged as favourites among voters as Iraq heads towards March 7 elections, a survey has shown.

    Maliki's State of Law Coalition leads with 29.9 percent while Allawi's Al-Iraqiya secular alliance trails with 21.8 percent, according to details of the poll by the National Media Centre, a government agency, received Wednesday by AFP.

    Allawi last month unveiled a broad secular alliance with fellow Shiites and Sunni politicians including MP Saleh al-Multaq, who has been banned from competing in the poll for alleged links to Saddam Hussein's former regime.

    Maliki, who formed his multi-confessional alliance along with Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties in October 2009, also heads the Shiite religious Dawa party.

    The poll was conducted in the first two weeks of February among a cross-section of 5,000 Iraqis in the country's 18 provinces, with 53 percent of those interviewed men and 47 percent women.

    Of those surveyed, 17.2 percent said they would cast their ballots in the legislative vote for the Iraqi National Alliance which groups the country's main Shiite parties -- the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the movement loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

    Ten percent of voters said they would choose the Kurdish Alliance over all others while the United Iraqi Alliance of Interior Minister Jawad Bolani, an independent Shiite, is due to get five percent of votes.

    The Sunni Muslim National Concord Front is at the bottom of the list with only 2.7 percent of Iraqis expected to vote for it, the survey showed.

    Allawi and Bolani are both trying to unseat Maliki, who is also a Shiite.

    Around 4.9 percent of Iraqi voters had no opinion while 2.2 did not respond to the survey, which has a two percent margin of error, the report said.

    The National Media Centre is linked to Prime Minister Maliki and the survey was carried out from February 1-15.

    It was published on Tuesday but the full details only emerged Wednesday.

    According to the survey, only two thirds of Iraqi voters -- or 63 percent -- will head to the polls compared to a 79.63 percent turnout in the last election five years ago.

    A total of 63 percent of Shiites said they will vote in March compared to 58 percent of Sunnis, who had boycotted the 2005 election, the first held after the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein's regime.

    But a further breakdown of voter turnout showed that Kurds will be largest ethnic group to vote, with 67 percent saying they will cast their ballots followed by 57 percent of Arabs.

    Meanwhile 47 percent of all those surveyed said they backed a decision by a Justice and Accountability Committee to ban candidates with alleged links to Saddam's outlawed Baath party from running in the elections.

    Thirty-eight percent said they opposed the ban while 15 percent had no opinion.

    The electoral commission said on Monday that 27 candidates were reinstated while 456 were disqualified, according to its final figures.

    The election is seen as a test of reconciliation between the population's Sunni minority and the Shiite majority now represented by Maliki's government.

    Around 19 million people have the right to vote, including 1.4 million citizens living in 16 countries abroad, according to election organisers.

    A total of 6,500 candidates will contest the ballot in an election that will feature 10,000 polling stations and 54,000 ballot boxes, according to Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission.


    Copyright AFP 2010. ... %20survey/

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    Re: top contenders in Iraq poll: survey 2/24/2010

    Thanks for the post.

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