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Iraqi blocs, outsiders vie to influence Basra governorship

It took Iraqis months to select a prime minister, and now a similar battle has arisen over the governor's office in embattled Basra.
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Amid ongoing protests in the southern Iraqi province of Basra, where citizens have been facing poverty and a critical lack of basic services, another dispute is emerging, this one over the governor’s position. This new controversy threatens to escalate the ongoing discord between political blocs there as the Basra provincial council feels pressure from outside sources seeking to sway its members' votes.

Political blocs realize that winning governors' positions locally could pay off later in national elections. Some observers say this competition has become an even more difficult struggle than the prolonged fight over selecting the country's prime minister. The blocs are worried this extended struggle for governor could inflame protests over the already hot topic of public services.

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