Iraq begins counting general election votes

Iraq begins counting general election votes
Thu May 1, 2014 13:34:24

Iraq’s election authorities have started counting votes minutes after Iraqis braved attacks to participate in parliamentary elections that brought international appreciation.

Wednesday's general election, the first since US troops withdrew from Iraq in late 2011, took place as further violence rocked the country, with 14 people killed shortly after polling started.

The United Nations hailed the vote as a rebuke to extremists who sought to derail the political process in a country suffering its worst bloodshed in years.

More than 9,000 candidates ran nationwide in the parliamentary elections on 277 electoral blocs, all competing for 328 parliamentary seats with more than 20 million voters casting ballots.

Preliminary results are not expected for at least two weeks. Initial figures by the election commission said that about 60 percent of Iraq's 20 million eligible voters cast ballots.

Iraqis complain of myriad grievances, from poor public services to high unemployment, but the month-long campaign centered on PM Nouri al-Maliki's bid for a third term and the country's dramatically deteriorating security.

Nearly a quarter of the national population lives in poverty according to official estimates. In parts of Baghdad, the poorest Iraqis live in garbage dumps with houses made of gas canisters and mud, UN-marked tarpaulins serving as roofs.

Iraqi people blame the US for the eruption of poverty and violence in their country, because the US-led invasion of Iraq since 2003 caused economic insecurity and terrorism the Arab nation.


string(708) "[{"id":"1531851","sort":"3198522","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/11/06/alalam_635193757576892320_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Iran hails Iraq for passing election legislation"} ,{"id":"1563368","sort":"3198523","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/07/alalam_635273867222130517_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Iraq attacks kill nine including election candidate"} ,{"id":"1580626","sort":"3198524","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/30/alalam_635318141998462728_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Iraq electoral commission retracts joint resignation"} ,{"id":"1589903","sort":"3198525","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/04/30/alalam_635344541771290413_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"In picture: Iraq’s first elections since US withdrawal"} ]"