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Iraqi expatriates react to voting

Iraqi expatriates flocked to the Royal Palace restaurant in El Cajon Wedensday to vote in their country's historic parliamentary election. The 275 member national assembly that voters elect will rule

Iraqi expatriates flocked to the Royal Palace restaurant in El Cajon Wedensday to vote in their country's historic parliamentary election. The 275 member national assembly that voters elect will rule Iraq for the next four years. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

Lamea Abbas cleaned her index finger outside the polling place so the purple ink showing she'd voted would take.

She says she fled Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party 20 years ago and is very proud to vote.

Abbas: "This is the first time in my life I vote. I feel free. I can choose the people who represent me on the Congress."

Expatriate voters will elect 45 of the 275 assembly members.

The El Cajon site is one of just seven polling places nationwide.

Most voters say this election process has improved since last January's transitional election. Then voting took two days. And the nearest polling place was Irvine.

A poll manager predicted the El Cajon site would increase turnout along with the fact this parliament will be permanent. Amy Isackson, KPBS news.