Iraqis began voting in the country’s first parliamentary election on Saturday since Iraq declared victory against Daesh.
Polling stations across the country, including the capital Baghdad and northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, opened at 07:00 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) and will close at 7:00 p.m. local time (1600 GMT).
“Iraqis will decide the future of their country,” Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi told reporters as he cast his ballot in Karada district in central Baghdad.
“I call for effective participation in the polls,” he said.
Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri also called on Iraqi voters to turn out en masse to vote in the parliamentary polls.
“A poor turnout will help certain parties disliked by voters to reach the decision-making positions,” al-Jabouri said as he cast ballot in Baghdad.
In northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, the prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani, said Iraq’s political process will not succeed without the participation of Kurds in the upcoming government.
“No party will be able to form a government without alliances,” Barzani said as he cast his ballot in Erbil in northern Iraq. “I don’t think the political process in Iraq will succeed without the Kurdish participation in the upcoming government.”
According to the election commission, voting was going smoothly in all Iraqi provinces.