Polls open in Iraq’s first local elections since US military withdrawal | News | DW | 20.04.2013
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Polls open in Iraq’s first local elections since US military withdrawal

Polls have opened in Iraq's first elections since the US withdrawal. Violence has marred the run-up to the vote, leaving more than 100 dead in the past week and 14 candidates killed since campaigning began.

Voting began at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) Saturday for provincial councils in 12 of Iraq's 18 governorates. More than 8,000 candidates from 50 electoral blocs are running for 378 positions.

Though the results will not directly affect Iraq's national leadership, the vote will test support for political blocs in the run-up to 2014's parliamentary elections.

Authorities tightened security around the country of nearly 33 million people, with 13.8 million eligible voters. Officials cited security concerns in delaying voting in two largely Sunni provinces.

Kirkuk, the northern largely autonomous ethnically Kurdish province, will hold its own local elections in September.

mkg/jr (AFP, AP)

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