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Iraq Sets Provisional January Date For Elections

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- Iraq has set a provisional date of January 30 for a national election, which will be the second since the fall of Saddam Hussein six years ago but the first to be organized and secured by Iraqis.

The date was proposed by Iraq's federal court, which deals with government disputes, and must now be agreed by parliament, the office of Iraq's first deputy parliamentary speaker said.

The last parliamentary polls were held in 2005 with strong U.S. support, and saw a broad Shi'ite coalition take the most seats. That alliance may not run again, and most parties now say they are studying options for new partnerships.

Many groups say they are now more open to cross-sectarian alliances, which could mark a shift away from the largely distinct Shi'ite, Sunni, and Kurdish lists of the past.

Iraq says it better prepared to police and organize the elections compared to 2005, and provincial polls in January passed peacefully.

The allies of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, did well in Baghdad and Iraq's Shi'ite south.