Supporters hold up placards of the State of Law alliance during a campaign meeting of Iraqi Prime Minister and head the alliance Nuri al-Maliki on April 26, 2014 in Baghdad ahead of April 30 parliamentary election. (AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)
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Nouri al-Maliki is bidding for a third term as Iraqi premier Wednesday without any obvious challenger, in marked contrast to the 2010 election when he faced an ex-premier in a tight race.Despite these issues, the month-long election campaign has centered around Maliki's bid for a third term, something he said in February 2011 he did not want to pursue.The landscape for the April 30 election differs markedly from 2010, when Maliki faced off with Shiite ex-premier Iyad Allawi, who at the time headed a secular Sunni-backed coalition.Allawi's Iraqiya bloc narrowly edged out Maliki, but the incumbent still managed to maneuver to secure the premiership by winning the backing of powerful neighbor Iran and allying with other Shiite parties after the election. Ahead of the election, though, Maliki and other Shiite leaders have been loath to be seen to compromise.
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