BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqis voted in the first national election since the country declared victory over the Islamic State group. The vote — the fourth since the 2003 U.S.-led toppling of Saddam Hussein — was marked by reports of low turnout and irregularities.
Results are expected within the next 48 hours 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.
Baghdad’s streets began to fill up with cars before voting concluded Saturday evening after al-Abadi partially lifted a security curfew in an effort to improve turnout. Nearly all civilian vehicles had been banned from the city’s streets Saturday morning and many voters complained of having to walk more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to reach polling stations.
In Mosul, turnout appeared to be higher with over 40 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots at polling stations across the city, according to the deputy commander of Nineveh operation command, Brig. Gen. Jassem Mohammed Khalil.
The war left more than 2 million Iraqis, mostly Sunnis, displaced from their homes, with cities, towns and villages suffering heavy destruction. Repairing infrastructure across Anbar and Nineveh provinces, both majority Sunni areas, will cost tens of billions of dollars.
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