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Saturday
May122018

Iraq holds first parliamentary election since ISIS driven out of country

Younes Mohammed/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- Iraqis are headed to the polls on Saturday to vote for the first time since ISIS was driven out of their country at the end of 2017.

Voting will be held for 328 seats in the country's parliament, which is currently dominated by the State of Law Coalition. Current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi leads the coalition after succeeding longtime Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who founded it.

The parliamentary elections will likely confirm the rule of Shia groups, including the State of Law Coalition and the Al-Ahrar Bloc, which currently has the second-highest number of parliament members. Saturday's polling marks the fourth election of a new parliament since the downfall of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in 2003.

Around 7,000 candidates are running to fill 328 seats in parliament, with 25 percent of the spots specifically reserved for female candidates. New faces have been plastered on banners all over Baghdad streets, publicizing first-time candidates. Some others are now running for the fourth time.

There are an estimated 24,349,357 people eligible to vote in elections for the Council of Representatives of Iraq. There are 8,959 electoral districts and 55,232 polling stations.

A car ban was imposed starting at midnight to protect voting locations from bombings, but was later partially lifted.

While millions are eligible to vote in Iraq, the country is facing a major problem with internally displaced people. An estimated 189,867 people who are eligible to vote are displaced. In order to help address the problem, the government has set up 76 electoral districts and a total of 510 polling stations in displacement camps.

Elections started at 7 a.m. local time in Baghdad and will end at 6 p.m., which is 11 a.m. Eastern time.

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