When Iraqi voters go to the polls on 30 Apr 2014 to elect members of the country's 325-seat Council of Representatives, Prime Minister Nuri al-Malaki will need a solid parliamentary majority for his State of Law coalition in order to win the third term that he is known to want.
He is reported to be courting minority Sunnis and Kurds to ensure it. With the courtship he risks alienating Shiite partners. His overtures to Sunni Baathists from the Saddam Hussein era and to Kurdish parties have upset the Shiite religious leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, whose influential opposition could put a spoke in al-Malaki's quest and further al-Sadr's ambitions. Increasing attacks by Sunni militias linked to al-Qaeda and other militant bodies could complicate the 2014 vote, but previous elections suggest they won't derail it. Despite a surge of attacks, Iraqi citizens elected representatives to provincial councils on 20 Apr 2013, and extreme sectarian violence and militia warfare didn't stop the parliamentary election in 2006.
Date written/update: 2013-11-20