Millions of Iraqi voters are going to polling places across Iraq to cast their votes in a major and democratic general election in the country to elect over 300 members of country's parliament amid threat of violence from Islamic militants.
Baghdad, Iraq - Millions of Iraqis troop to polling places across Iraq to participate in this year's general elections amid threat of bombings to disrupt the elections under a democratic system of government.
There are 19 million eligible voters out of 29 million who are expected to vote to elect more than 300 members of the parliament. The Iraqi government under Prime Minister Naouri Maliki, who is expected to retain his current post as Prime Minister called on the Iraqi people to go out and vote.
The last election in Iraq was in February 2009 when the people elected local representatives. Prior to this, a series of elections were held starting in January 2005 for the transitional national assembly, October 2005 for the new Iraqi constitution and in December 2005 for the first post-invasion parliament.
Islamic militants had pledged to disrupt the voting process with attacks - a group affiliated to al-Qaeda distributed leaflets in Baghdad warning people not to go to the polls. Key issues in this year's national elections include security, services and disqualification of Baathists, the party of the deposed and executed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
In his TV address, Iraqi Prime minster Naouri Mailki urged Iraqis not to opt out of the democratic process and participate in the electoral process. "I call upon you to benefit from democracy with consciousness... you have to go to the ballots and take part in the elections actively," he said.
The national election is seen as a crucial test for national reconciliation and will determine the ability of the Iraqi authorities to govern and preserve the gains of the government as the US entered the final phase of its complete military withdrawal from Iraq.
(original article appeared @ Digital Journal