While the Iraqi leader is away, his political party faces stiff competition.

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(Newslook) As Iraq's president recovers in Germany from a stroke, his political party at home faces a stiff challenge from an emboldened opposition in upcoming Kurdish elections, with some forecasting a disastrous showing.

The struggles facing Jalal Talabani's bloc, which for decades has held a duopoly on power in the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, could prove instructive for parties across the country.