Early look: Maliki vs Allawi

In the infancy of Iraq's next government, voters appeared to have picked current prime minister Maliki and former premier Allawi.

Two brothers in a village along the Tigris River in Diyala province went to the polls Sunday having agreed to both vote for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But when they left the voting center, one had switched his vote to Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, and his brother bloodied his head.

Whether this actually happened or the policeman in the village simply made up an election joke – a sort of dark humor common in Iraq – is not clear. Yet the story does capture the uncertainty, violence, and unique Iraqi brand of democratic passion that was on display in Sunday’s election.

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