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Iraq's provincial election begins

MILLIONS of Iraqis went to polling stations in 14 out of Iraq's 18 provinces this morning to cast ballots in the war-torn country's important provincial elections.

Early at 7:00 am (04:00 GMT) about 42,000 polling stations opened their doors for the voters, who each will emerge with one finger swiped with purple ink as a proof of voting.

The voters will elect members of the provincial councils. Some 15 million Iraqis are being called to the polls to choose leaders for the provincial councils.

The elections are the first vote in the country since 2005. More than 14,400 candidates, about 3,900 of them women, are competing for 444 seats of the councils.


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