Voting begins in Iraq parliamentary election

Voters in Iraq are going to the polls for a parliamentary election. The focus is on whether a stable administration can be established to restore security as US involvement in the country winds down.

Voting began at 7 a.m. Sunday, local time. More than 3,200 candidates are competing for 329 seats.

About 250,000 security personnel have been deployed across the country for possible attacks by Islamic State militants.

With the security situation remaining unstable, one of the main election issues is whether the US military should remain in the country.

US troops are expected to complete their combat operations against the Islamic State by the end of this year. The US is likely to then shift its role to training Iraqi troops.

Another matter in question is what kind of relationship Iraq should pursue with Iran. A series of attacks on US forces in Iraq have apparently been carried out by Iran-backed militias.

Vote-counting will start after the ballot closes at 6 p.m. It is expected to take several days for preliminary results to become known.