Supporters of the anti-American radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have been voting on who should be Iraq’s prime minister.
The two-day poll, which has no legal authority, has been organised by the Sadr faction – part of the Iraqi National Alliance – which came third in the parliamentary election last month.
Since then there has been little progress towards forming a government and it is unlikely the referendum will carry any weight.
One unidentified voter said: “The purpose behind the referendum is that the decision belongs to the people because the political blocs have not yet made a choice. Therefore they have to adopt a referendum because the decision of choosing a prime minister depends on the people.”
Although all Iraqis were invited to take part it is not clear how widely the ballots were available outside Sadrist strongholds.
Not everyone is happy about the referendum. Iraqi citizen Mazen Fadhil said: “I think the election the Sadr bloc is carrying out is untruthful and is not stipulated in the Iraqi constitution.”
Analysts say the Sadr bloc has never forgiven
incumbent prime minister Nouri al-Maliki for crushing the Mehdi army militia and wants to stop him achieving a second term.