Iraq held a democratic vote to choose a leader with no foreign troops present for the first time on Wednesday as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sought to hold power for a third term despite a growing insurgency in the east.
Euronews correspondent Mohammed Sheikh Ibrahim spoke from Baghadad about how the election impacted Iraqi people.
euronews studio: From the Iraqi capital Baghdad, our special envoy Mohammed Sheikh Ibrahim.
Mohamed, how was the atmosphere during the parliamentary elections in Iraq?
Mohammed Sheikh Ibrahim: The atmosphere here in Iraq has been really tense. That’s taken its toll on the Iraqi people. Many have been worried about living their lives with political uncertainty and violence. But those who voted in this election are optimistic about a change for a better future.
Civil aviation has announced its intention to reopen Iraqi airspace. Also, the border is back open. It was closed to avoid any security issues.
euronews studio: Iraqis wanted to exercise their constitutional and national right to determine their country’s destiny. Do you think the turnout was as expected?
Mohammed Sheikh Ibrahim: The turnout is considered acceptable given the recent violence, political uncertainty and sectarian tension.
Even with these difficult conditions and political divisions, many Iraqis were determined to get to the polling stations, even on foot. Baghdad and many provinces were closed to traffic for the election.
A lot of people walked long distances in high temperatures to cast their ballots. It was important for people to vote and change this country to have a better future.
Some people stayed at home because they were afraid. They thought it would be too risky to venture outside to vote. There have been daily attacks in different areas recently.
The main fear for many Iraqis has been that polling stations and residential neighbourhoods have been targeted for attacks.
Many have been worried that they or their visitors would be victims of bombings and explosions.