Early voting begins in Iraq election
Polling stations opened across Iraq yesterday amid tight security in the first stage of the country's landmark provincial elections, the nation's first balloting since 2005.
The early voting started ahead of Saturday's main polling day to try to avoid the security, logistical and electoral fraud problems of four years ago, when all eligible Iraqis had to vote on the same day.
About 614,000 police, soldiers, hospital patients and prisoners were eligible to cast ballots at 1,672 established voting centres that opened at 7 am (0400 GMT) and will close at 5 pm.
"At seven in the morning voting began that included army, police, patients and detainees," Hassan al-Waeli, chief of the electoral commission in Diwaniyah province told AFP.
"There were around 20,000 voters at 12 of our polling centres," he said.