Parliamentary elections start in Iraq
BAGHDAD- Iraqis headed to the polls on in the wee hours of Wednesday morning in their first national election since US forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011 amidst heightened security.
With Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki seeks a third term amid rising violence, the country’s western province of Anbar is awash in violence as Sunni Muslim militants challenge the Iraqi military and Shi’ite militias for territory surrounding Baghdad.
Voters will choose among 9,012 candidates and the parliamentary election effectively serves as a referendum on Al-Maliki, who has governed eight years.
Political analysts say no party is likely to win a majority in the 328-seat parliament and forming a government may be hard even if Al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance, as expected, wins the biggest number of seats.-KUNA