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Maliki's housing initiative may be part of election strategy

Is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's "National Initiative for Housing" a means to win votes?
Iraqis walk down Al-Rashid Street in the capital Baghdad, January 2, 2005. Rashid Street, the once vibrant heart of the city, has been in sad decline for decades, its intellectual life choked by repression, its cafes and stores strangled by war and sanctions. But it has taken the anarchy, crime and guerrilla violence unleashed after the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein to kill off what was left of Rashid Street's colonnaded, Ottoman-era charm. TO ACCOMPANY FEATURE STORY BC-IRAQ-STREET  REUTERS/Faleh Kheiber
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In Iraq, the early election media campaign has taken various forms. Notably, the government has started giving away residential land in return for votes.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, writer and political analyst Safa Khalaf described the “National Initiative for Housing,” which Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched, as being consistent with the mind-set of political “gratuities.”

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