Campaigning for Iraq's first national elections got underway Wednesday, and interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi entered the race, backed by a list of more than 200 other candidates.
Mr. Allawi is running for the national assembly on the "Iraqi List" alliance, which includes several ministers from his interim government. More than 80 coalitions have registered to run in the January 30th poll.
Mr. Allawi's candidacy follows his announcement Tuesday that Iraq would begin trying top lieutenants of Saddam Hussein's regime as early as next week, but certainly by mid-January -- just days before the election.
The first defendant will be Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as "Chemical Ali" for his alleged role in the 1988 gassing deaths of some 5,000 Kurds in northern Iraq (Halabja).
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.