1. DEMOCRACY

    Iraq Election Official Arrested

    Faraj al-Haidari, head of the Iraqi electoral comission, announces on March 11, 2010, the first results of national elections from two provinces. Initial election results put Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in the lead, as rival blocs voiced doubts over the vote count.
AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

    Ahmad Al-Rubaye, AFP / Getty Images

    The next elections in Iraq might not be the relative success story of 2010, if the arrest of election official Faraj al-Haidari is any sign. Al-Haidari, the chief of the Independent Electoral Commission, was arrested on corruption charges Thursday and released this week. But the accusations—giving bonuses of $130 to five employees, in a country where billions are routinely given away in corrupt contracts—raises the concern that the arrest was a warning shot from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has long sought to take control of the electoral commission.

    Read it at The New York Times