BAGHDAD (AP) — As violence rages on, Iraq voted Wednesday in its first parliamentary election since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
Many Iraqis increasingly complain of government corruption and the failure to rebuild the economy after years of war following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. However, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law party is widely expected to win the most seats in the 328-member parliament. Experts doubt the party will win a majority, however.
The vote comes as the death toll in Iraq last year climbed to its highest levels since the worst of the sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007. The United Nations says 8,868 people were killed in 2013, and about 2,000 people were killed in the first three months of this year alone.
High-profile attacks have killed dozens in the days leading up to the vote, but security forces largely closed down the capital, Baghdad, on Wednesday. Authorities declared a weeklong holiday around the vote as well.
Here is a series of Associated Press images of the voting in Iraq.
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