Voting starts to Britain-based Iraqis

13:52, March 06, 2010      

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Iraqi nationals living across the world on Friday began casting their votes in the Iraqi National Parliamentary Elections, due to be held in Iraq on Sunday.

There are about 450,000 Iraqis currently living in Britain. The British polling stations were located in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and voting will take place from March 5 to 7.

The elections are crucial for consolidating the many gains that have been achieved recently. It is clear that the vast majority of Iraqis now want to move forward and build a better life for themselves and their families.

According to estimates, between 1.5 and 3 million Iraqi nationals are currently living abroad, and the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq (IHEC) has selected the 16 host countries where the Iraqi population is highest to conduct out-of- country voting.

With the help of host governments, including the British government, IHEC has set up country offices and polling centers in each country, and every Iraqi who meets the IHEC eligibility conditions and provides the required documentation will be able to vote.

These are the first national parliamentary elections since the Transitional National Assembly elections in 2005, and will decide the 325 members of Iraq's Council of Representatives.

The voting is based on an open-list system which allows voters to choose either a political party, or a candidate and that candidate's party.

The elections, both in Iraq and out-of-country, will be monitored by international observers including a team of British diplomats which will be taking part in election observation on election day in major Iraqi cities.

In a statement, the British Foreign Ministry said Britain, in support of the UN and with other members of the international community, will do all it can to ensure the elections are free and fair and that government formation is not delayed by political crises.

Source: Xinhua
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