News / Middle East

Iraqis Vote Amidst Violence

Iraq's Vote in First Poll Since US Withdrawali
X
April 30, 2014 6:11 PM
Violence marred election day in Iraq Wednesday, with at least two people killed as voters took part in parliamentary elections. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from our Middle East Bureau in Cairo.
Related video report by Elizabeth Arrott
Edward Yeranian
Ballot counting began immediately at polling stations across Iraq after voting ended Wednesday. Electoral officials say more than 50 percent of registered voters turned out, despite a series of election day attacks that left at least 12 dead.  

The head of the polling station in Baghdad's Karrada district describes the process of sorting and counting ballots. Electronic equipment to scan registered voters shut down automatically at the same moment at polling stations across the country.

Observers from the Arab League and the European Union were present in most polling stations, along with observers from local non-governmental organizations. It was the first parliamentary election in Iraq since 2010, and the first since U.S. troops withdrew in December 2011.

Despite sectarian violence and tensions between Iraq's Sunni and Shi'ite communities, voting took place normally in most parts of the country except predominantly Sunni Anbar province, parts of which are under control of Sunni insurgents.

A European Union monitor describing voting for Iraqi state TV says things were peaceful and everything went normally. He points out that it was the first time electronic scanners were used and that an electronic recount will take place Thursday in another first.

At many polling stations, more than 50 percent of the electorate turned out to vote, according to an electoral commission member in Babil Province.

He says voting was almost like a wedding festival. He says 42 percent of electors had voted by noon and over 55 percent had turned out by closing time.

Baghdad security chief Sa'ad Ma'an indicated earlier that voting was going smoothly in most places, despite a failed suicide bomb attack in Mosul. Five soldiers were wounded in another suicide attack and militants blew up a polling station north of Baghdad. Mortar rounds were also reported in numerous places.

In the days before the elections, bomb attacks and other violence claimed more than 65 lives.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who voted early in the day at Baghdad's Rasheed Hotel, had urged Iraqis to turn out in large numbers.

He says those who vote will have the right to criticize and ask for accountability, while those who do not throw away that right. He says that by voting, Iraqis can defeat terrorism and those who want the elections to be a failure.

Iraq's former national security adviser Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie, who is a candidate in the prime minister's Shi'ite-led “State of Law” coalition, told VOA he is optimistic.

"I have already voted with the prime minister, Prime Minister Maliki, together, and we are very upbeat to be quite honest with you," he said. "I think we're going to break a record again ... of civilians going to polling stations with unprecedented percentage."
 
  • An elderly Iraqi woman shows her ink-stained finger after casting her vote, Baghdad, April 30, 2014. 
  • A member of Iraq's Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) stands guard in front of a polling station in Baghdad, April 30, 2014.
  • Security forces search people outside a polling station in Habaniyah, near Fallujah, April 30, 2014.
  • Iraqi policemen stand guard near a polling station, Baghdad, April 30, 2014.
  • A group of men gesture with their ink-stained fingers after casting their ballots in the Iraqi parliamentary election, Najaf, ,April 30, 2014.
  • An Iraqi policeman inspects the site of a suicide attack at a polling center in Kirkuk, April 28, 2014.
  • Passengers in a taxi wave PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) flags, the party of President Jalal Talabani, before the country's parliamentary elections, Sulaimaniya, April 28, 2014.
  • A woman hails a taxi while standing under Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) campaign flags before Iraq's parliamentary elections, Sulaimaniya, April 28, 2014.
  • A detainee shows his inked finger after casting a vote at the polling center inside a prison in Irbil, April 28, 2014.
  • Observers for election candidates and their parties monitor the voting process as prisoners cast their ballots inside al-Rusafa prison during early voting for the parliamentary election, in Baghdad, April 28, 2014.
  • Kurdish security personnel display their ink-stained fingers after casting their votes at a polling station during early voting for the parliamentary election, Arbil, April 28, 2014.
  • Iraqi security forces stand in line to vote outside a polling center, Baghdad, April 28, 2014.

Describing the electoral atmosphere in the capital as festive, Rubaie says, "I am proud of the Iraqi people. They are going in millions to the polling stations. They are parading towards the polling stations. They are very, very happy. Baghdad is all colorful, now, and I think they are going to cast their votes and they are going to vote overwhelmingly in support of [ Maliki's] "State of the Law” [coalition].”

No matter the outcome, Parliament Speaker Osama Nujeifi told Al Arabiya TV that his coalition had “no intention of forming any alliance” with Maliki, because of what he called “prior negative experiences with the prime minister.”

During the 2010 elections, Maliki's party won 89 seats in Iraq's 338 member parliament, while his main opponent, Iyad Allawi won 91. But Maliki formed the government after a series of electoral alliances in his favor.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hunt Richardson from: United States
May 01, 2014 12:31 AM
Bravo to the Iraqi voters. Even if they elect someone Westerners think is a bad guy, they braved terrorist attacks and death to exercise there right to choose their leader legitimately. the terrorists have nothing good to offer.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs