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Iraqis abroad cast ballots in homeland's election

AMMAN, Jordan - Thousands of Iraqis living abroad lined up at polling stations to cast ballots in their homeland's crucial parliamentary elections Friday, a constituency Iraq's Sunni Arab minority hope will boost their showing.

Voting was being held in 16 countries across the globe.

The United Nations refugee agency estimates that around 2 million Iraqis are living abroad - the majority of whom fled violence after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

A large proportion of those - particularly in Jordan and Syria - are Sunni Arabs who fled the fierce wave of sectarian killings at the height of the Iraq war.

That has made their votes a major focus of attention for Sunni leaders in Iraq, who are hoping a solid turnout among their community will counterbalance a strong vote among the Shia majority for their own religious parties.

Voting abroad will be held for three days, while in Iraq most voters go to the polls Sunday. - AP

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