29 Jan 2009

Early voting begins in Iraq

7:00 am on 29 January 2009

Early ballots are being cast in provincial elections in Iraq on Wednesday.

Polls will open to the general public on Saturday in the first Iraqi election since 2005.

Some 14,400 candidates, including nearly 4000 women, have registered to contest 440 provincial council seats.

The outcome will not be clear immediately. Preliminary counts will take days and the final tally weeks. It could take weeks more for councils to meet, form coalitions and pick new governors.