Friday, January 30, 2009

The Voting has Begun

"Iraqis are electing new provincial councils in the first nationwide vote in four years, with the Sunni minority expected to turn out in strength.

Sunnis largely boycotted the last ballot, a general election which resulted in Shia and Kurdish parties taking control of parliament.

Gunmen killed three candidates in recent days and security is tight.

The vote is seen as a test of Iraq's stability ahead of the next general election later this year.

Up to 15 million Iraqis are eligible to cast a vote."
If they pass off relatively peacefully, these elections will set the stage for general polls at the end of the year and for further coalition troop withdrawals, our correspondent says.
"Saturday's elections are being held in 14 of the country's 18 provinces, with more than 14,000 candidates competing for just 440 seats.

They are being organised by the United Nations and Iraq's Independent High Election Commission, with 800 international observers expected to oversee the balloting."


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