Baghdad: Voting is underway in Iraq for parliamentary elections today. Iraq has closed its air and land borders in view of the election. The election was earlier scheduled to be held next year, but it is happening ahead of schedule. This vote has given hope for the reforms needed against decades of struggle and mismanagement.
p style="text-align: justify;"At the end of 2019, thousands took to the streets in the capital Baghdad and southern provinces to protest corruption, poor service and rising unemployment. During the demonstration, security forces opened fire and fired tear gas shells in which more than 600 people were killed and thousands were injured.
2.5 crore voters will decide the future of 3200 candidates
A total of 3449 candidates are contesting on 329 seats in this election. Iraq is holding elections for the sixth time since the US-led ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Over 250,000 security personnel are deployed across the country for safe voting. Army personnel, policemen and counter-terrorism forces are being taken and deployed outside polling stations.
p style="text-align: justify;"Iraq’s President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi have urged people to vote. “Those who are hesitant to vote, trust God and choose those you think fit,” al-Kadhimi said after casting his vote at a school-built polling station in a high-security area in Baghdad. /p>
p style="text-align: justify;"In the 2018 elections, only 44 percent of the voters exercised their franchise. Iraq’s top Shia cleric Ayatollah Ali Alsistani has appealed to people to vote in large numbers. This is the first time since the ouster of Saddam Hussein that elections are being held without a curfew. Iraq has closed its air and ground airspace from Saturday night to Monday morning in view of the election.
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