May 5, 2014 By

Iraq Parliamentary Election: First since US Withdrawal


Twenty two million registered Iraqi voters cast their ballots in 50,000 polling booths across the country on Wednesday, amidst rising violence to elect a 328-seat Parliament, in the country’s first parliamentary elections since the US troops moved out three years ago. More than 9,000 candidates are competing in the elections.

Polling began at 07:00 local time amidst tight security provided by hundreds of troops and closes at 06:00p.m. The government has temporarily closed the airport and the main roads in and out of the city. Suicide bombers and gunmen have been attacking election rallies, polling stations, government offices, markets and universities in the past month with the purpose of scaring away the voters and disrupting the elections. There would be no voting in parts of Sunni-dominated Anbar province where clashes between the security forces and the Islamist and tribal militants continue for the control of the provincial capital Ramadi and Falluja.

One of the world’s top oil exporters, Iraq witnessed escalating sectarian violence during the past year with an average of 2,000 people dying every month. Around 9,000 were killed in 2013, according to the United Nations report and 160 people were killed in the last week alone.

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