Iraqi officials say provincial elections on Sunnday have ended
without reports of major violence.
In elections seen as a crucial test of Iraq's stability, voters picked
representatives for 14 of the country's 18 local councils.
14-thousand candidates sought 440 seats in Iraq's first provincial
elections since 2005.
Preliminary results are expected in a few days and final results should
be released in several weeks.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he is pleased with the high
number of voters who went to the polls, saying it shows people have
confidence in the government.
The vote was expected to draw many Sunni Arabs who boycotted the last
The larger Sunni turnout could shift the balance
of power in some provinces.
The poll was also expected to show whether Iraqi forces are able to
maintain peace as U.S. troops begin to pull back.
Officials hope a successful election will pave the way for national
elections later this year.
In scattered violence, one person was killed and another injured in a
shooting linked to a dispute with soldiers in Baghdad's Sadr City
district. North of the capital, mortars exploded near a polling station
in the city of Tikrit. There were no reported injuries.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military says soldiers killed two Iraqi policemen
who had fired on coalition forces conducting an operation against
al-Qaida in Iraq.
A statement says coalition troops tried many times to identify
themselves during today's incident near the northern city of Mosul, but
continued to receive hostile fire. It says they returned fire while
acting in self defense.
A military officer expressed regret for the deaths of the policemen.