Iraq's armed forces cast their ballots ahead of Wednesday's nationwide polls
Iraq's armed forces and related security authorities cast their ballots throughout the country Monday two days ahead of Wednesday's parliamentary polls, according to Agence France Presse.
The vote Wednesday represents the first elections that will be held since U.S. troops withdrew from the country, and is further considered a major test for Baghdad's security and order capabilities.
Members of the armed forces cast their ballots Monday starting at 7:00 am, with Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and the Shiite-led government up for re-election.
Many Iraqis, however, are frustrated with the Maliki leadership, due to lack of basic service access, high unemployment and what has been described as "rampant corruption."
I have come to vote "for the sake of Iraq, and to change the faces who have not served Iraq. We want to choose better people," said Ahmed, a policemen wearing civilian clothes who was queuing at a polling station in central Baghdad.
The security situation throughout Iraq has been deteriorating, and violence has escalated particularly ahead of the April 30 polls. Some candidates and election workers have been targeted and some political rallies have also been attacked.
Though Baghdad has described Wednesday's poll as "nationwide," areas such as Sunni-majority Anbar province will not see any ballots cast in some areas due to security situations.
Over 60,000 votes have already been cast from out-of-country voting as of Monday morning.