Iraqi Kurds vote in parliamentary polls

By Aref Yusuf and Ali Mohamed

ERBIL, Iraq (AA) – Voters in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region began to cast their ballots in the region’s parliamentary elections on Sunday.

Around 3.3 million voters are eligible to cast ballot in the vote to elect from 673 candidates running for 111 seats in parliament.

Voting began at 08.00 a.m. local time (05:00 GMT) and ends at 18.00 p.m (15:00 GMT).

Some 29 parties and coalitions are vying in the vote, the first since the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group by Iraqi forces and a U.S.-led coalition last year.

The High Election Commission in the Kurdish region has established some 5,933 voting stations in the cities of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Dohuk and Halabja for the polls.

Leading parties vying for seats in the parliamentary polls include Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Gorran Movement, Kurdistan Islamic Party (Yekgirtu), Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), Kurdistan Islamic Movement (Bizutnava) and the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF).

The parliamentary polls are held every four years in the Kurdish region.

The vote had been scheduled to be held in 2017, but the vote was postponed for a year as a result of political and economic crises in the region.

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