IRAQI PREMIER SEES WIN IN POLLS

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BAGHDAD: Voters braved the threat of attacks to stream to polling centers on Wednesday in Iraq’s first elections since US troops withdrew, with premier Nuri al-Maliki proclaiming “certain” victory as he cast his ballot. Long queues formed from early morning at tightly-guarded election centres despite a spate of attacks in recent days on polling booths and campaign gatherings. Iraqis have a long list of grievances, ranging from poor public services to rampant corruption and high unemployment, but the month-long campaign has centerd on Maliki’s bid for a third term and a dramatic deterioration in security. Maliki encouraged voters to turn out in large numbers, and voiced confidence that he would return to power after casting his ballot at a VIP voting center set up in the Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone.

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AFP

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