December 24, 2008 3:53 PM

Thousands of candidates may complicate Iraq's provincial elections

Iraqi voters next month will see 14,500 candidates vie for 440 open seats on provincial councils, an outpouring of interest in a new phase of Iraqi self-government that could make for a baffling ballot. The Jan. 31 poll will be the first in a series of votes in Iraq next year that include elections in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, a national referendum on the new U.S.-Iraq security pact and nationwide parliamentary elections.

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