Iraq's Messy Democracy

The country is getting better at elections. But its leaders have not yet learned to compromise

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Supporters of a Sunni politician prohibited from running for election demonstrate in Baghdad.

Baqubah, the capital of Iraq's Diyala province, is a largely colorless place except for the winter orange harvest and the hundreds of campaign posters that line its streets. But at least the sectarian battles between Sunnis and Shi'ites that once raged through the city are now confined mostly to the ballot box as Baqubah, along with the rest of Iraq, prepares for national parliamentary elections on March 7. Inside the fortified government headquarters, Diyala's governor, Abdul-Nasser al-Mahdawi, is relatively optimistic that the elections — the fifth poll since the U.S. brought democracy to Iraq — will go smoothly. "The country is...

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