BAGHDAD, April 30 (UPI) -- Polling stations across Iraq opened at 7:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday in what is Iraq's first parliamentary election since the U.S. military withdrew in 2011.
9,000 candidates are vying for 328 parliamentary seats.
Concerns about election day violence prompted authorities to lock down the capital city of Baghdad. No cars were permitted in the city in an effort to curb the possibility of suicide attacks and car bombings, forcing Baghdad residents to walk to polling stations.
BBC correspondent Rafid Jaboori reported that despite concerns about violence, the Iraqis he spoke to throughout the country said that they would not be deterred from voting on Wednesday.
Nearly 50,000 polling stations are open to facilitate the approximately 22 million Iraqis who are eligible to vote.