Soldiers, prisoners, displaced vote early in Iraq

Soldiers, prisoners and displaced people voted in special early polls in Iraq on Friday (October 8).

Two days before a general election in which many Iraqis say they won't vote.

Although the country is safer than it has been for years, endemic corruption and mismanagement have left many people without work, healthcare, education or electricity.

Turnout will show if there's much faith left in Iraq's still young democratic system.

Large, established parties, mostly drawn from the Shi'ite majority, are expected to stay in the driving seat, as they have since Saddam Hussein's Sunni-led government was ousted in 2003.

Friday's early ballot included voting among the more than one million people who are still displaced from the battle against Islamic State, vanquished in 2017.

Mass anti-government protests swept across Baghdad and the south two years ago. They toppled a government and forced the current leaders to hold this election six months early.

Dozens of activists who oppose the major parties have been threatened and killed since the 2019 protests, scaring many reformists into not participating in the vote.

Iraqi officials blame armed groups with links to Iran for the killings, which they deny.

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