An Iraqi security member arrives to cast his vote at a polling station two days before polls open to the public in a parliamentary election in Baghdad, Iraq on May 10, 2018. (Reuters photo)
BAGHDAD, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security personnel Thursday cast their votes across the country ahead of parliamentary election slated for Saturday, amid tight security.
The voting began after 7.00 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) when hundreds of soldiers and policemen lined up at polling centers across the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and in other cities to cast their ballots.
Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) decided that security forces to vote two days ahead of the scheduled election date, as more than 943,000 voters are casting their ballots at 494 polling centers across the country.
Iraqi security forces intensified security measures near hundreds of polling centers across Iraq, in accordance with a plan presented earlier by Baghdad Operation Command (BOC), Colonel Nibras Ali, head of media office of Baghdad police, told Xinhua in interview on Wednesday.
The BOC plan includes setting up three security belts: one of which is members of Facilities Protection Police wearing civilian uniforms inside the polling centers, second belt for police forces around the centers, while the third belt for soldiers and other security forces to deploy in wider circle in the surrounding area, Ali said.
An Iraqi security member shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station two days before polls open to the public in a parliamentary election in Baghdad, Iraq on May 10, 2018. (Reuters photo)
Meanwhile, thousands of Iraqi expatriates continued casting their ballots in some 130 polling centers in 21 countries across the world.
The 2018 parliamentary election is the first since Iraq's historical victory over the militant Islamic State group in December last year, as over 24 million Iraqis are eligible to vote in 4,148 polling center across Iraq for a new parliament, which they hope will bring change to the economic and security situations in the country.
Around 7,000 candidates, representing 205 political entities are vying for the 329 seats.
Iraq's previous general election was held on April 30, 2014, when the Iraqis elected 328 lawmakers for the parliament.