Iraq's president has rejected the recently passed provincial elections law, his office said on Wednesday -- a move that appears to doom what has been touted as all-important legislation for the country.
At least 15 people were killed and 46 others wounded Thursday when near-simultaneous car and suicide bombings struck a busy commercial district in central Baghdad, an official with the city's emergency police said.
About 350 Arab and Turkmen demonstrators took to the streets of Kirkuk on Thursday, protesting preliminary results of the Dec. 15 parliamentary election and condemning what they claim are Kurdish attempts to control the city, according to Kirkuk Police Chief Torhan Abdul Rahman.
A group that monitored the Iraqi parliamentary elections said preliminary findings show "there has been a significant increase in voter turnout" among Iraqi expatriates casting ballots in 15 countries across the globe.
The United Iraqi Alliance and Kurdish alliance -- the Shiite-led and Kurdish coalitions that prevailed in the January 30 elections -- are considered front-runners in Thursday's parliamentary elections.
Voters in Diyala province -- the district north of Baghdad with a majority Sunni Arab population -- are backing the country's draft constitution, according to early figures released from last week's referendum on the law.
Iraqi election officials are conducting random ballot recounts from Saturday's constitutional referendum because there were particularly high numbers of "yes" or "no" votes in most of Iraq's 18 provinces.
"We learned from the last elections and completely changed our voting system, and so have the terrorists," said Amer Latif, head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq for Diyala province, slightly shaken but determined after having just survived an attack on his life.
Polls have closed and ballot counting has begun after Iraq's first free election in a half century, with officials reporting a higher than expected turnout of registered voters amid attacks and threats of violence.