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Votes Being Counted In Kurdish Regional Elections In Iraq


People line up to vote in regional parliamentary elections in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on September 21.

People line up to vote in regional parliamentary elections in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on September 21.

Vote-counting is under way in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, following regional parliamentary elections on September 21.

Officials have put the turnout at 73.9 percent in voting that transpired without major incident.

One man was reported shot to death in the capital, Irbil, after polls closed. And Hiwa Mohammed, an election monitor in Irbil, told Reuters that difficulty with the voting procedure may have kept some residents from casting their vote.

"The polling stations were crowded with voters because of technical difficulties with the machines. They were supposed to extend [the voting] by an extra hour because nearly 20 percent of people could not cast their ballots," he said. "There was a problem with the name log and we blame the electoral commission for this. Most people could not find their names in the logs."

Despite such accounts, the United Nations praised the "smooth conduct" of the elections.

The elections were the region's first since July 2009.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party of regional President Masud Barzani is expected to have the largest bloc in the new parliament, although it is unlikely it will have a majority.

Iraq's Kurdish region enjoys considerable autonomy from Baghdad, maintaining its own security forces and visa policies.

It is locked in a dispute with Baghdad over oil revenues and territory, including and surrounding the city of Kirkuk.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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