Polls close across Iraq in first vote since victory over IS
Polls closed last night across Iraq in the first national election since the country declared victory over the Islamic State group.
The vote, the fourth since the 2003 US-led toppling of Saddam Hussein, was marked by reports of low turnout and irregularities.
Results are expected by the end of tomorrow according to the independent body that oversees Iraq’s election, but negotiations to choose a prime minister tasked with forming a government are expected to drag on for months.
Voting began early yesterday morning in a contest that had no clear front-runner after weeks of official campaigning.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s stiffest competition came from political parties with closer ties to Iran.
Baghdad’s streets began to fill up with cars before voting concluded after al-Abadi partially lifted a curfew in an effort to improve turnout.
Nearly all civilian vehicles had been banned from Baghdad’s streets and Iraq’s most senior Shiite cleric spoke out on the issue of voter participation, encouraging Iraqis to vote “to prevent the arrival of a corrupt parliament”.