Iraqi poll turnout 51 percent, says election panel

February 1st, 2009 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Feb 1 (Xinhua) The Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq (IHEC) Sunday said that the voter turnout in the country’s provincial election was 51 percent.”The turnout of voters nationwide reached to 51 percent,” Faraj al-Haydari, IHEC chairman, told reporters in Baghdad.

Some 7.5 million out of 15 million eligible voters participated in Saturday’s elections, said Haydari.

He said the turnout was ranging from 40 percent in the Sunni province of Anbar to 65 percent in Salahudin province, which includes the hometown of former president late Saddam Hussein.

Haydari said that final turnout figure for Baghdad is not ready yet, but said that initial reports put it around 40 percent.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the voters turnout was 59 percent as Sunni Arabs boycotted the polls because of the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

On Saturday, millions of Iraqis cast their ballots in polling stations across 14 out of 18 Iraqi provinces to choose their leaders in provincial councils.

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