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Iraq Holds Elections

Provincial elections were held in Iraq for the first time in four years Saturday, with few violent incidents.

U.S. and Iraqi security forces had implemented major security measures for the election, including thorough screenings at polling entrances, reported the Associated Press.

Provinical council elections were held in all but four of the 18 Iraqi provinces, reported Al Jazeera. The councils nominate governors and finance public projects.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who will be seeking re-election later this year, said that Saturday's elections were an important step for the country and an evaluation of its progress.

The Times Online reported that 15 million Iraqis, just over half of the population were registered to vote. Sunnis had boycotted the elections four years ago, but had a substantial turnout Saturday.

The Associated Press reported that, in some areas, there were voters claiming that they were omitted from the voting registries.

Leading up to the election, there were a few concerns about candidates and political parties buying votes, reported Al Jazeera. Five to eight candidates had been killed leading up to the election.

Results are not expected until Tuesday.