In Rudaw 

Special voting begins across Iraq ahead of October 10 elections

Security forces on Friday headed to polling stations to cast their ballots during the special voting period, which takes place two days ahead of the general vote in Iraq’s parliamentary elections.

Special voting began early in the morning with a brisk turnout of security members at electoral centers. IDPs and prisoners are also eligible for early voting on Friday.

“Things are settled, and all the centers have been opened with no issues,” the head of the electoral commission Jalil Adnan Khalaf told Rudaw’s Halkawt Aziz.

Some officials have reported issues with the electronic voting system, particularly with the biometric fingerprint feature.

Peshmerga forces are among those casting their votes in the Kurdistan Region, and the disputed territory of Kirkuk.

Iraq is expected to elect a new parliament on Sunday ahead of schedule after 2019 protests against corruption and lack of basic services brought down the government.

There are over 3,200 candidates competing for 329 seats in the legislative body. Nine seats are reserved for minorities and there are 67 candidates vying for these spots.

Last week, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) published the list of forces eligible to vote on October 8.

At least 25 million Iraqis are eligible to vote, but turnout is expected to be low because of fears of fraud and disillusionment with the political system.

The United Nations said it would have a team of more than 800 people in Iraq to monitor and assist the national election commission for the elections. The European Union also has an 80-member strong monitoring team.

The massive international presence was requested by Baghdad, part of its attempts to address multiple security concerns and allay fears of fraud, vote-buying, and voter intimidation.