A new door has opened towards democracy in Iraq, with people starting to cast their ballots in the first parliamentary elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
As the country’s president and prime minister turned out to vote, explosions rang out in several centres.
Mortar attacks have been reported in Baghdad, Ramadi to the west of the capital, Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit and in the northern city of Mosul. At least one person is reported killed in the Mosul explosion.
Security is tight across the country for these elections. About 150,000 Iraqi soldiers and police are on duty, and almost 160,000 US soldiers are also standing by.
Some 15 million Iraqis are eligible to vote. The election is the first under the country’s new constitution and politicians are elected to parliament for a four-year term. Analysts do not consider local opinion polls as very reliable, but most of the votes are expected to go to a group of Shi’ite Islamist parties currently in government.