Home Arab world Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops cast ballots

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops cast ballots

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Iraqi security members arrive to cast their vote at a polling station, two days before polls open to the public in a parliamentary election in Baghdad, Iraq May 10, 2018. (Reuters)
  • The number of security troops allowed to take part in the special vote is 943,639.
  • While the main polling takes place on Saturday, the “special voting” for servicemen from various branches of the military and security forces, takes place two days earlier.

BAGHDAD: Tens of thousands of security personnel voted on Thursday in Iraq’s parliamentary elections.

Voting was also under way for Iraqi expatriates in 19 countries, including London.

While the main polling takes place on Saturday, the “special voting” for servicemen from various branches of the military and security forces, takes place two days earlier.

According to the Independent Higher Election Commission (IHEC), around 940,000 troops are eligible to vote. The polling also allows 36,000 prisoners to cast their ballots.

The commission said turnout had been 78 percent.

Around 150 000 fighters belonging to the Shiite-dominated paramilitary troops that fought Daesh alongside the government, were not allowed to participate in the special voting but will be allowed to vote on Saturday.

The voting went smoothly with no security incidents across the country.

In Baghdad, the movement of people and vehicles appeared to be normal and no new or unusual security measures were imposed.

A long queue of military vehicles lined the streets leading to polling stations and hundreds of soldiers and police stood and relaxed near their cars.

“I have been here for three hours, the process is very slow and the center is very hot, but finally my turn came and I voted,” Salah Nasif, a police commissioner, told Arab News in one of the special voting poll stations in Baghdad.

“I voted for the person who served us. Maliki (the former prime minister) appointed me and raised our salaries, so I choose him,” Nasif said.

Complaints came from several provinces of technical problems and voting was interrupted at dozens of stations.

Also, many of the soldiers and police could not find their names on lists sent to polling stations, so they were not allowed to vote.

“This is a mess. After all this waiting since early morning, they told me I am not allowed to vote,” Median Kareem, a local policeman, told Arab News. “It’s not just me, many other colleagues were not allowed to vote because of these errors.”

IHEC said that anyone who had been unable to find their name in their polling stations would be allowed to vote on Saturday.