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Flag of Iraq
  1. Iraq Main Page
  2. Iraq Gains Independence
  3. Rise of the Baath Party
  4. Saddam Hussein's Ascendancy Brings Series of Wars
  5. The UN Steps In With Sanctions and Weapons Inspections
  6. The U.S. Launches War in Iraq
  7. With No Evidence of Weapons in Iraq, Bush Calls Iraq the Focal Point of War on Terror
  8. War Does Little to Improve Infrastructure or Security in Iraq
  9. Insurgency Gathers Steam
  10. Iraqi Leadership Struggles in Effort to Form a Government
  11. U.S. Strategy Under Fire
  12. President Bush Hopes Surge of U.S. Troops Will Change Course of War
  13. Iraqi Parliament Gets Down to Business
  14. Iraqi Government Shows Signs of Stability
  15. U.S. Role Diminishes in Iraq
  16. Political Veterans Fare Well in Parliamentary Elections
  17. War in Iraq Is Officially Over
  18. Political Unrest and Violence Continue
Political Veterans Fare Well in Parliamentary Elections

Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was known as "Chemical Ali" and was a cousin and close associate of Hussein, was executed in January 2010 for his role in the 1988 poison-gas attack on the village of Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds were killed. He was also a member of the group of leaders responsible for the deaths of approximately 180,000 Kurds in the Iraq-Iran War.

The electoral process was dealt another blow in January 2010 when a parliamentary panel recommended that 500 candidates (out of a total of 6,500) be banned from participating in the election because of their alleged former association with Saddam Hussein's Baath party. The move outraged many Iraqi Sunnis, who threatened to boycott the elections, and intensified sectarian tension. A panel of seven judges, however, overturned the ban in February but said the candidates who run in the elections may still be investigated later for their ties to the Baath party. The de-Baathification movement was effectively ended in May, when a group of politicians quietly agreed they would not disqualify nine winning candidates with Baathist ties.

Sectarian violence increased in the days leading up to the March 7 election, but the tension was less deadly than widely feared. On election day itself, dozens of bombs exploded in Baghdad. Most were non-lethal, but two killed at least 38 people. Iraq's election commission reported that 62% of Iraqis voted in the election, a lower turnout than in the last parliamentary election, held in 2005. Turnout was around 50% in Baghdad, where the violence was most prominent.

Final results, released in late March, gave the Iraqi National Movement, led by former prime minister Ayad Allawi, 91 seats in Parliament out of 325. Allawi gained traction in the weeks leading up to the election. A secular, nationalist Shiite, Allawi received support from Sunni Muslims, and he fared particularly well in Sunni-dominated central and western Iraq. The State of Law alliance, headed by Prime Minister Maliki came in a close second with 89 seats. Both fell far short of the 163 seats needed to form a majority in Parliament. A Shia religious movement, including followers of radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, won 70. The two main Kurdish parties together received 43 seats.

Maliki challenged the results, and a recount of votes in the Baghdad region confirmed Allawi's slim lead. In October 2010, Maliki formed an alliance with the Shiite bloc led by al-Sadr, his former rival, which put him close to a majority of seats. Negotiations continued, and American officials strongly urged the Sunnis, many of whom backed Allawi, to remain in the negotiations to be assured a role in the government. An agreement to form a unity government was finally reached in November that allowed Maliki to retain his position as prime minister and the Kurds held on to the presidency. Allawi's coalition, Iraqiya, was promised the role of speaker of the Parliament and leadership of a new committee charged with overseeing security. Parliament approved the government in late December.

Next: War in Iraq Is Officially Over
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