Iraqis Vote in General Election

World | March 7, 2010, Sunday // 09:43| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Iraqis Vote in General Election An Iraqi elderly man casts his vote for the Iraqi parliamentary elections at a polling station in Karada discrit in Baghdad, Iraq, 07 March 2010. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Polling stations across Iraq have opened, amid tight security, for voters to elect 325 parliamentary members.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki called on voters to turn out in large numbers, saying that participation would boost democracy.

Despite extra security measures to prevent violence, at least 17 people died in two separate blasts in Baghdad.

The border with Iran has been closed, thousands of troops deployed, and vehicle movement has been banned.

The parliamentary election is the second since the 2003 invasion which led to the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The previous election, in 2005, saw Mr Maliki become prime minister with Shia Muslim parties dominating the legislature.

President Jalal Talabani, seeking another term, said: "This election marks another step in the march of our democracy - and also a test."

Iraq's last elections were in February 2009, when voters chose local representatives.

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