http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm.../20050115/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_allawi_s_future Yahoo is NOT my favorite newsource, though on the Messageboard it may seem so, they do a good job of simplifying. There headlines however are atrocious and often are updated for factual problems. With that said, this has a good summary of how the elections will run and why Allawi may have a problem. Read the article, google if you want more. Ayad Allawi was handpicked by Washington as prime minister, but to stay in office he must get majority support in the parliament that will be elected in two weeks. That won't be easy. Allawi is running on a ticket that's likely to be trumped by a rival one supported by Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric. And that ticket has its own candidate for the coveted prime minister spot a French-educated finance minister whose party has managed the difficult task of staying on good terms with both Iran and its nemesis, the United States. Allawi, who forged close ties with the CIA in the last of his three decades in exile, came to office last summer amid high hopes of containing the insurgency and preparing for elections. Since then, however, the violence has intensified and the credibility of the Jan. 30 vote is in jeopardy. Many of the country's minority Sunni Arabs, who held supremacy under Saddam Hussein, are unlikely to participate either because of deteriorating security or to protest the United States' perceived influence. The election works like this: first, Iraqis elect a 275-member national assembly on Jan. 30. Next, the assembly elects a largely ceremonial president and two deputies. Then those three choose a prime minister and the assembly ratifies their choice. So unless one of the big groups wins an outright majority in the national assembly, Iraq will be in for a spell of horse-trading with smaller parties and independents to determine who will be prime minister and hold real power.