Election officials: Iraq local election participation 50%

BAGHDAD- Voter participation in Iraq's provincial election on Saturday was 50 percent of eligible voters, the country's electoral authorities said after poll stations closed.
Election officials said including results from a special vote a week earlier for members of the armed forces, total participation would be more than 51 percent. Turnout in the last local vote in 2009 was 51 percent.
Official preliminary results are not expected for several days, but the local vote will be a key test of political parties' strength before the parliamentary elections in 2014.