Millions of Iraqis across the country headed to vote on Saturday for their representatives in Parliament, for the first time after the full territorial defeat of Islamic State (IS) terror group in Iraq.
The polls kicked off at 7 a.m. and will continue till 6 p.m. Iraqi Vice President Nuri al-Maliki was the first top official to vote at a polling centre in the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad.
About 7,000 candidates, representing 205 political entities, are competing for the 329 parliamentary seats to form a new government for the next four years, Xinhua news agency reported.
"This is an important day in Iraq's history and in the history of the political process which was built on the freedom of voting," Maliki told reporters after casting his ballot.
"Election is the only way to give democracy a success and I call on all the people to choose the proper person, whoever they believe, to be their representative in the coming Council of Representatives (Parliament)," he added.
Kamil Khudir, a middle-aged man who voted in central Baghdad, said: "I expect the voting can bring better life for our people. Young people are jobless and we need public services. We need everything."
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