BALLOT BOX

All Eyes on Iraq Elections

There has been more violence leading up to Iraqis going to the polls Sunday to elect a new government, a crucial vote that could determine whether America can smoothly withdraw from the country without facing further chaos. A car bomb killed four people and injured 54 when it exploded near Iraq's holiest Shi'ite shrine on Saturday. Iraq's first election, while a rare and inspiring event in the Middle East, precipitated a civil war and sectarian tensions have been on the rise in recent months. If the election is viewed as illegitimate, if divisive candidates take office, or if new leaders prove more authoritarian, the results could be disastrous. "This is a very important election," Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told The Washington Post in an interview. "It will decide the future of the democratic process in Iraq. It will be developed or stopped."