Polls opened across Iraq on Saturday in the first national election since the declaration of victory over the Islamic State group.
No clear front-runner has emerged after weeks of official campaigning as Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi faces stiff competition from political parties with closer ties to Iran.
Polling centres have been set up for many of the country’s two million people who remain displaced by the war against IS.
While the conventional war against the militant group has concluded and Baghdad is experiencing a relative lull in insurgent-style attacks, Iraqi security forces have imposed tight security measures ahead of Saturday’s vote with a curfew in place in the capital.
However, many Iraqis who turned up early to vote Saturday morning expressed cautious hope for the future.
Despite the premier’s military achievements, Iraq continues to struggle with an economic downturn, sparked in part by a drop in global oil prices, entrenched corruption and years of political gridlock.
Mr al-Abadi’s most powerful opponents are his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki, and an alliance of candidates with close ties to the country’s powerful, mostly Shiite paramilitary forces.
In total there are 329 parliament seats at stake, with nearly 7,000 candidates from dozens of political alliances.
Government formation negotiations are expected to drag on for months after that as the dozens of political parties attempt to cobble together a political bloc large enough to hold a majority of seats in parliament.