Iraq to hold parliamentary election on Sunday

Voters in Iraq will cast ballots on Sunday in a parliamentary election. The focus is on whether a stable government can be formed to restore security in light of the declining US involvement in the country.

More than 3,200 candidates are contesting the 329 seats.

The election was initially scheduled for May of next year. But it was moved forward in response to huge anti-government demonstrations in 2019 protesting high unemployment rates and corruption.

US troops are expected to complete their combat mission against the Islamic State militant group by the end of this year. The US is believed likely to then shift its role to training and assisting Iraqi troops.

The challenge is to improve security in the face of continuing terrorist attacks by Islamic State militants in the country.

A major issue of the election is whether Iraq will need a continued US military presence in the country.

Another matter in question is what kind of relationship Iraq should build with Iran. A series of attacks on US forces in Iraq have apparently been carried out by Iran-backed militia groups.