BAGHDAD – Iraq is set to hold its first national parliamentary elections Wednesday after the withdrawal of the U.S. forces in 2011. More than 22 million voters will be eligible to cast their ballots to choose 328 lawmakers out of more than 9,000 candidates.
Here's a look at the major political player and lists in the race to parliament:
STATE OF LAW: The main Shiite Islamist list that is led by Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. His main ally is Shiite Deputy Prime Minister for energy, Hussein al-Shahristni. It is expected to gain the largest number of seats, given their emergence as the largest single bloc in seven of 12 provinces in last year provincial elections.
AL-MUWATIN: It is one of the main rivals to State of Law that is headed by powerful cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, of the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council.
AL-AHRAR: It is consisted of candidates from the followers of the Shiite firebrand cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr. Few other Sadrists are fielding two separate small tickets.
MUTAHIDOUN: It is led by Sunni parliament speaker, Osama al-Nujaifi.
AL-ARABIYA: It is led by Sunni Deputy Prime Minister, Saleh al-Mutlaq.
AL-WATANIYA: It is under the leader the leadership of former prime minister, Ayad Allawi.
THE UNITED KURDOSH ALLIANCE: It is made of the two major Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan that is led by Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party which is under the leadership of the president of the self-ruled northern Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani.