After months of delay, Iraq finally set an election date for March 2010. The vote is seen as a critical step towards the withdrawal of US troops.
But can it herald a new era for a country besieged by years of violence and unrest?
Al Jazeera's Mosab Jasim reports on Iraqis' hopes for the upcoming ballot, but David Mack, a former US diplomat in Iraq, tells Al Jazeera that if political reconciliation cannot be reached, the election could cause more instability.
Source: Al Jazeera