Iraqi security personnel across the country cast their ballots Friday, January 8, two days before other citizens exercise their right to vote in parliamentary elections.
The vote was held six months ahead of schedule, in line with a promise made by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi when he took office in 2020. He sought to appease anti-government protesters who voiced their discontent with the country’s situation in October 2019 in Baghdad and southern Iraq.
The so-called “special vote”, held two days before the election, was meant to free the police and soldiers so they could provide security on election day.
A government adviser on election affairs, Hussein al-Hendawi, said more than 1.5 million security personnel were eligible to vote. On the same day, more than 120,000 displaced people, hundreds of hospital patients, and inmates were allowed to cast their ballots early.
There were 3,449 candidates vying for 329 seats in parliament in Sunday’s vote, which would be the fifth held since the fall of Saddam Hussein following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
More than 24 million of the estimated 38 million Iraqis are eligible to vote. [ab/uh]