Political lists to watch
United Iraqi alliance - List No. 169
This coalition of Shiite parties and individuals, put together under the sponsorship of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is expected to win the most seats in the election. About half of the 220 candidates on the list are thought to come from two major Shiite parties with close ties to Iran, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Dawa Party. SCIRI leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and Dawa leader Ibrahim Jaafari are two of Iraq's best-known politicians. Others on the list are moderate Shiite religious figures close to Sistani, and about 10 percent of the members are close to militant cleric Moqtada al Sadr. Secular Shiites are also present, including Ahmed Chalabi, the former American intelligence ally and one time choice to lead post-Hussein Iraq. Many list members are former exiles.
• Pictured, the leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and the logo for the United Iraqi Alliance.
The Iraqi list - No. 285
This list is headed by appointed interim prime minister and current American favorite Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite doctor and former Baathist. His list has a number of prominent Sunnis as well as Shiites, and what they seem to have in common is a secular style of government and the belief in a strong-man approach to internal security. Many of them are former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party who fell out with the regime in the 1980s and 1990s. Mr. Allawi has used the campaign opportunities of being interim prime minister well, and his list appears to be supported by secular Iraqis, particularly in major cities. As with the United Iraqi Alliance, many Iraqi list members are former exiles.
• Pictured, interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, and the Iraqi list logo.
The Kurdish alliance - no. 130
This electoral list could come close to sweeping the roughly 15 percent of Iraqi voters who are Kurds. About 80 percent of the candidates on its list are drawn from the two main Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdish Democratic Party, led by Massoud Barzani. The two parties are united in their aim of pushing for strong Kurdish autonomy within Iraq, something that their members hope will eventually lead to independence. Though they're cooperating in this list, both parties have powerful militias who fought each other over smuggling routes and political control in Kurdistan during the 1990s, when the US-patrolled no-fly zone allowed them to carve out a largely autonomous zone from the rest of Iraq.
• Pictured, leading Kurdish Alliance candidates Massoud Barzani (top) and Jalal Talabani.
The Iraqis list - No. 255
This group is headed by appointed interim President Ghazi al-Yawar, a prominent member of the Shammar, one of Iraq's largest tribes. The list draws many of its members from Iraq's powerful rural tribes and seems to be traditionalist, and not overtly Islamic. It has a mix of Shiites and Sunnis.
• Pictured, interim President Ghazi al-Yawar, and the Iraqis list logo.