Thousands of candidates (and scores of parties) are now actively campaigning for office. Eighty-five percent of the voter registration centers are up and running, despite serious problems in Anbar province and in Mosul. An NYT story sees a "jungle of ambiguity," but the UN reports "considerable interest among Iraqis in the registration process in particular, and elections in general."
Iraq's communist party is back (emerged, as one observer has put it, "from [its] pre-Baathist formaldehyde") with its pre-Baathist slogan, "A free country and a happy people"; 91 of the party's 275 candidates are women.
A UAE newspaper editorializes that "There is a positive turn-around in the situation" in Iraq, and that "Those who thought violence was the way to settle scores with the Americans, or to disrupt life in Iraq and fish out of troubled waters, have not succeeded..." On the other hand, election workers are being ambushed and killed, and even political banner painters are working in fear.
Some think the U.S. won't like the election outcome, because the winners may be forced to negotiate with the "insurgents." Others believe that if Prime Minister Ayad Allawi wins a seat, he's likely to end up as leader again simply because the vying power centers won't be able to compromise on anyone else.
This and much more, including links, photos, stories, editorials, and analyses from all over, are gathered on the Iraq Elections Blog. Check it out.