Speed Reads

election day

Iraqis vote for the first time since since the defeat of ISIS

Iraqi voters head to the polls Saturday for the first time since the country declared victory over the Islamic State. Reports from Baghdad suggest low turnout, and of those who did try to vote, some were turned away because they have not received their new, biometric voting ID cards in time for the election.

Iraqi leaders attempted to bolster turnout by removing a security curfew and urging participation to keep corrupt or unpopular politicians out of office. "The lack of participation will give the opportunity for others to reach parliament and they will be very far from the aspirations of the people," warned Sheikh Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalai, a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has been credited with defeating ISIS but nevertheless faces stiff competition at the ballot box. Preeminent among his rivals is former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has closer ties to Iran.