Iraq announces 44.5 percent turnout in parliamentary elections

The electoral commission of Iraq has announced that 44.5 percent of those eligible to vote cast their ballots in Saturday’s parliamentary elections.

“The number, or total number of votes is 10,840,989 including 9,952,264 voters who voted on the public voting day and 709,396 voters who voted in the special voting day, while the number of Iraqi voters abroad was 179,329. Hence, the turnout of voters is 44.52 percent of the votes counted,” said Chief Electoral Officer of the Independent High Electoral Commission, Riyadh Al-Badran early on Sunday.

Meanwhile the governor of Iraq’s Kirkuk province has declared a curfew and ordered a manual recount of votes stressing that the electronic counting system had produced an “illogical” result.

Rakan al-Jubouri, governor of the northern region, said the curfew would be from midnight until 0300 GMT to prevent any ethnic or sectarian tension between its Kurdish, Arab and ethnic Turkmen communities.

Earlier in the day, people in Iraq went to polls to elect a new parliament and new prime minister in the first national election since the country declared complete victory over the terrorist Daesh group.

About 7,000 candidates from dozens of political alliances are vying for seats in the 329-member parliament.

Among major challenges facing the new Iraqi premier is ensuring security and reconstructing the war-torn country.

Daesh unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks. Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters then launched operations to eliminate the terrorist group and retake lost territory.

Last December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of the anti-Daesh campaign in the Arab country. The group’s remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq.

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