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Iraqis line up to vote in Austria

Thousands of Iraqis living in Austria voted at polling stations in Vienna this week as they took part in their home country's first election since US troops withdrew in 2011.

In Iraq, officials and military officers closely guarded polling stations from suicide attacks or violence, although dozens of attacks have already left 14 people dead.

As they went to the polling stations in Vienna on 27 and 28 April, Iraqi's living in Austria were able to cast their ballot without fearing their safety. On the first day of voting, around 850 Iraqi citizens turned up, of the 3,500 living in the country who have the right to vote. There are in total 10,000 Iraqis in Austria.

The country is not the only overseas place where migrated Iraqi's can cast their vote. "Iraqi citizens abroad can vote from 20 countries around the world. There are polling centres for example in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Iran, Turkey, Sweden and Germany," said Aram Saleh Osman, the Head of the local Electoral Commission who was overseeing the voting process in Austria.

The results from the voting in Vienna are registered and electronic data is sent to the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Once their validity has been checked there, they get sent back and the election officials for Iraq in Austria count them here.

The results of the election are expected to be announced in May.

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