Iraq Parliamentary Election Turnout Crosses 62 Per Cent

IraqiFlag 03082010

The total percentage of voters who cast their vote in Sunday's Iraqi general election has been officially confirmed as 62.5.

It means 11.7 million voters among 18.9 million people who were eligible to vote in Iraq's second parliamentary election since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country utilized their franchise. In all, more than 6,200 candidates were vying for a place in the 325-member parliament.

But this figure did not include ballots cast by police, defense personnel, prisoners and hospitalized Iraqis in special voting or the 272,000 Iraqis who voted abroad.

The official tally was released to the media on Monday by Hamdiya al-Husseini, a member of the Independent High Electoral Commission.

According to him, the turnout was particularly high in the country's autonomous northern Kurdish region, with 80 percent of voters in Dohuk city casting ballots. Arbil recorded second highest polling with 76 per cent.

The volatile northern city of Mosul saw a turnout of 66 per cent, while the Iraqi capital Baghdad had 53 per cent turnout.

In Mosul, after an initial strong presence of voters in polling booths, the turnout waned after the attacks, he told reporters.

An all-night curfew imposed in the country was lifted after about 36 people were killed in mortar and bomb attacks Sunday.

Al-Husseini said that the commission has already received 381 poll-related complaints.

Counting is under way, with preliminary results expected in several days, as counting the poll's complicated ballot is expected to take time.

Faraj al-Haidari, the head of the country's election commission, said Monday that the vote's preliminary results would be released most likely on Thursday.

Iraq will have to wait until month-end to hear the final official announcement of results, reports say.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Coalition is widely expected to win the most number of seats, but reports say it may not be able to win a majority to form a government, which will lead to months of negotiations on a coalition-cabinet.

Meanwhile, NATO praised Iraqi voters for taking part in the elections in significant numbers braving the wave of violent attacks.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen termed the elections as "yet another crucial achievement for the development of a full democratic Iraq."

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