Iraqis preparing for historic election

Dec. 14, 2005 at 9:31 PM
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BAGHDAD, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Iraqis were getting ready to vote in an historic election Thursday amid tight security.

In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush urged U.S. citizens to show patience with the process.

Iraqis are expected to vote for a four-year parliament -- their first democratically elected government -- following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Ballots will take some study by voters to understand, with 19 political coalitions and 307 political entities vying for votes.

Thursday's vote will replace the transitional government now in place to fill the 275-member Council of Representatives for a four-year term, which will in turn pick a cabinet and presidential council.

Three kinds of political entities are on the ballot -- coalitions, independent political parties and independent candidates -- and at least 25 percent of all seats must be held by women.

The borders have been sealed since Sunday as a security precaution, and as many as 10 million people are expected to go to the polls, CNN said. Expatriate voting began in numerous countries Monday, and the military and hospital patients have already voted.

Overall results are not expected to be known before the end of the month.

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