On Sunday, polls opened in Iraq for voting in the early general elections. Security measures around election centers were increased to the highest level, as voters will be searched at checkpoints in front of polling stations and they will not be allowed to bring mobile phones into buildings where votings are held.
According to the official Iraqi News Agency, early on Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi voted in an election center in the Baghdad Green Zone. “I wanted to register as the first voter to cast his vote,” al-Kadhimi said while urging Iraqis to participate and vote.
Shia cleric and politician Ammar al-Hakim and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have also cast their votes early on Sunday.
Voting has continued until 18:00 and the Iraqi High Election Commission is expected to announce the results within 24 hours.
Furthermore, Iraq’s borders and airspace were closed on Saturday evening ahead of the polls, according to the Civil Aviation Authority. The agency said the closure started at 18:00 on Saturday and will last until 6:00 on Monday.
3,249 candidates representing 21 coalitions will be participating in Sunday’s elections and 109 parties will be vying for seats in the 329-member Iraqi parliament. Meanwhile, 877 foreign observers will supervise the voting procedure.
Previously, on Friday, security forces, IDPs and prisoners cast votes in the elections.