Iraqi elections set for January 2010.

Iraqi officials have announced the date for the country’s next general election.

The election will be held at the beginning of next year and is expected to be a key test of the popularity of the current Shia Muslim-led government headed by prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Speaking to the AFP news agency, deputy speaker of parliament Khalid al-Attiya said: “At the rest of the speaker of parliament, the supreme court has fixed January 30th 2010 as the date for the next legislative elections.”

The last general election in Iraq was held in December 2005 and resulted in an easy victory for the Shia parties after a wide-scale boycott by Sunni Arabs.

The United States and its allies will hope next year’s elections will pass smoothly and represent a strengthening of the country’s democracy as occupational troops continue to withdraw.

US president Barack Obama has ordered the complete withdrawal of troops by the end of 2011 and British troops have already started leaving Iraq after ending their combat mission in the country.


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