BAGHDAD, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Iraqi election officials reported massive turnout in early voting for the Iraqi provincial elections, suggesting most people will head to the polls Saturday.
The Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq said 90 percent of the registered voters eligible for early voting Wednesday cast their ballots in the first elections in four years, the Voice of Iraq radio station reported.
Officials working with the Defense and Interior Ministries, those interned in hospitals and prisoners were able to cast their ballots at 347 polling centers throughout the country.
Faraj al-Haydari, chairman of IHEC, told reporters in Baghdad the turnout was low in the Shiite province of Basra and in Baghdad, but the provinces of Najaf, Maysan and Qadissiya reported greater than 50 percent of eligible voters casting their votes. There were no accounts of violations, he added.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continued his tour of the country in support of his State of Law slate in the volatile northern city of Mosul following earlier campaign stops in the southern provinces.
The violence in the northern city of Mosul peaked in recent weeks, prompting security officials to offer special escorts to candidates there.