Establishing viable independent government in Iraq has been fraught with difficulties. The emergence, after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, of a plethora of political factions, mostly divided along sectarian lines, has made for a complex political landscape in post-war Iraq. In the 2009 governorate council elections, over 14,400 candidates, most of them under the auspices of one of Iraq’s myriad political parties, stood for 400 seats. Insurgency has interfered with the democratic process, both by keeping voters away from polls, and through attacks on government ministries which hamper government operations.
These difficulties, along with problems of corruption and sabotage, have limited state provision of infrastructure, worsened the environment for business and exacerbated high unemployment in rural areas—which are all hindrances to bolstering security and government authority. Despite its oil wealth, investment has been deterred by legislative delays and levels of corruption which put Iraq among the worst in the world, according to Transparency International and the World Bank.