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RFE/RL's Flash Analysis: Taking the Pulse of Iraq's Democracy at the Polls

Early results point to a victory for Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's "State of Law" alliance in the historic April 20 provincial council election in Iraq. Iraqis went to the polls for the first time since U.S. troops withdrew in late 2011, as more than 8,000 candidates vied for 378 council seats in 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces. Winners will be tasked with addressing many of the practical problems Iraqis still face -- from access to electricity and clean water to public safety.

In an exclusive video analysis, Radio Free Iraq's Abdelilah Nuaimi explains what the election means for ordinary Iraqis, and the challenges that lie ahead for the newly elected leaders.

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