Iraqis defied a rash of attacks that killed 14 people on Wednesday and voted in the first general election since U.S. troops withdrew, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki proclaiming “certain” victory.
Queues formed from early morning at tightly guarded polling stations, and turnout by midday was around 40 percent, according to a diplomatic source.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Iraqis had “courageously voted,” sending “a powerful rebuke to the violent extremists who have tried to thwart the democratic process and sow discord in Iraq and throughout the region.”
Mr. Maliki called for a move away from national unity governments towards ones of political majority. — AFP