by Jamal Hashim
BAGHDAD, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- With the clock ticking to the new year of 2010, Iraqis seem more and more optimistic for welfare as normalcy is coming back at a snail's pace despite sporadic waves of fatal car bombs.
Many Iraqis are enthusiastic to the idea that their country's elections slated for March would be the most significant turning point in the coming year, during which Iraqis are most likely to speed up the revival of their war-shattered nation.
"I wish the new year will bring peace and security improvement to my people, and I wish that all Iraqis will take part in the vital parliamentary election which we hope it will draw better future," Ali Abbas, 37, a teacher in Baghdad's western Mansour district told Xinhua.
"I wish my people will elect the right people for the coming parliament because we have suffered enough by the existing politicians. The ball is in my people's field, hopefully we will have for better future," Abbas said.
Next March, Iraq is scheduled to hold its second nationwide elections, in which Iraqis will elect a new parliament and then to form a new 4-year-term government.
In 2005, Iraq held its first parliamentary elections since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.
Despite the fact that the 2005 elections helped to put Iraq on the path to all-out civil war as the voters, who lived under decades of democracy absence, elected their representatives on sectarian and racial bases.
But, the provincial elections in early 2009 showed that Iraqis increasingly turned to elect their representatives on nationalist bases rather than sectarian.
Selma Hameed, 37, female government employee, seemed busy in shopping for a New Year occasion, as she is preparing for a small family party at her home in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Mansour.
"It would be quiet and warm family party, we would like to wish together for our future," Hameed said as she was collecting some decorations for the evening and small gifts for her husband and two children.
"My wish for the new year is to live in peace and to enjoy normal life like other nations in the world. It is time for my people to stop fighting each other and learn how to accept the others as they are to live in peace," she said.
Raymond Anis, 44, an Iraqi Christian was unhappy for not having noisy party as he used to before the U.S.-led invasion because of the lack of security and because many of his Christian friends had left the country by the violence.
"I'm very sad that we couldn't hold the Christmas sermon in the church few days ago because of the recent wave of violence against Christians in Iraq," Anis said as he was sitting at a coffee shop in Baghdad central district of Elwiyah.
Nevertheless, Anis, a businessman, was cheerful and optimistic as he believes that his people have passed a painful experience during the past years after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
"The Iraqi society was shaken up by the collapse of Saddam regime, but gradually I can see that, with the passing of time, all of us (Iraqis) are holding more coherent views toward disputes appeared among Iraqi factions after the invasion," he said.
Ra'ad al-Ne'mah, who was sharing Anis on the table, agreed with him, saying that Iraq is slowly recovering and the recent oil deals with oil firms to develop Iraq's enormous oil reserves would give a great push to the Iraqi economy.
"My country is now competing to be the number one among the oil producing countries. I'm excited, and have to look forward for prosperity," Ne'mah told Xinhua as he sipped his coffee.
Iraq currently produces 2.5 million barrel per day (bpd) and is aiming to increase its output of crude oil to 12 million bpd in six or seven years.
Estimated at 115 billion barrels, Iraq holds the world's third largest proven oil reserves, only after Saudi Arabia and Iran.