PM 'certain' of victory as Iraqis stream to polls despite unrest
Published on Apr 30, 2014 2:07 PM
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Voters braved the threat of attacks to stream to polling centres Wednesday in Iraq's first elections since United States troops withdrew, with Premier Nuri al-Maliki proclaiming "certain" victory as he cast his ballot.
Long queues formed from early morning at tightly guarded election centres despite a spate of attacks in recent days on polling booths and campaign gatherings.
Iraqis have a long list of grievances, ranging from poor public services to rampant corruption and high unemployment, but the month-long campaign has centred on Mr Maliki's bid for a third term and a dramatic deterioration in security.
Mr Maliki encouraged voters to turn out in large numbers, and voiced confidence that he would return to power after casting his ballot at a VIP voting centre set up in the Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone. "Today is a big success, and even better than the last elections, even though there is no foreign soldier on Iraqi soil," the Premier said.
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