Violence Greets Iraq Election

Iraqi voters trooped to polling places amid violence in some areas as  parliamentary elections that could define the post-Saddam Hussein era of the country begun. Mortar rounds were fired in Salahuddin province, with reports saying the attacks were directed at polling places in the predominantly Sunni area, killing at least three people.

The results of the elections are considered crucial to the country’s efforts to rebuild the nation and establish a working democracy. No parties are expected to get a majority of parliamentary seats, leading to what could be long and intense negotiations to form a government.

Iraqi voters see the elections as a chance for the country to break ethnic and sectarian divisions that have been the root causes of violence. The elections are also viewed by foreign observers as a test of the Iraqis’ capability to maintain peace and order on their own, as the U.S. has significantly reduced the number of American soldiers assigned in the Middle Eastern nation.