December 13, 2005

Exiles begin voting in Iraq election

AMMAN (Reuters) - Iraqis living abroad began voting on
Tuesday, two days before their compatriots go to the polls to
elect postwar Iraq's first full-term parliament, organisers

They said voters were turning out in strength in Australia,
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates
with no logistical or security problems reported.

Polling stations were due to open later in the day in
Europe, the United States and Canada.

"Everything is going smoothly," Hamdieh Husseini, a senior
official of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq in
charge of out-of-country voting, told Reuters.

He said 557 polling stations would be open for three days
in 47 cities in 15 countries which host large Iraqi

More than a million Iraqis are eligible to vote abroad and
organisers expect a higher turnout than in a January 30 poll
for an interim assembly when only a quarter of them cast

Voting will take place in Austria, Australia, Britain,
Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iran, Jordan, the Netherlands,
Sweden, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and
the United States.