"These past years were all years of blood and I signed for freedom with my blood"
Hussein Garmiyani, a Kurd who pricked his finger and stamped his ballot paper with blood, Kirkuk

"I'll vote for [United Iraqi Alliance] because they'll kill all Baathists"
Abdullah Abdulzahra, 40, Najaf 

"We want to choose Sunni candidates. We want them to be in power because they are capable of providing security and they do not kill or beat us"
Khali Ibrahim, 70, Baghdad

"I came to vote because I want the Americans to leave Iraq. Things will be much better after they leave. There is no Iraqi Muslim who wants a foreigner to occupy this country"   
Ahmed Jassim, 52, Mosul 

Kurds are voting to secure their
autonomous regions

"[I voted so] no particular sect controls the country"
Yassin Mohammed Samarra, 28, college student, Baghdad 

"I am voting because I hope we can have a government that will help me and give me my rights"
Hadi Mishaal, former solider, Baghdad

"[I voted for the] clerics, and clerics do not steal our money. We want people who protect our money" 
Abbasiya Ahmad, Shia, 80, Baghdad

"This is a day of freedom for us. We are so happy. The most important thing we need is security. We want our children to get a better life"
Selima Khalif, elderly Shia woman, Baghdad

"I feel proud to take part in the election and I'll vote for [Shia United Iraqi Alliance] as it ensures rights of the Iraqi people,"
Abboud Mohsin, Najaf 

"I'll vote for [former PM] Iyad Allawi, I expect he'll ensure security and meet our ambitions" 
Abdul Satar Gabar, 38, businessman, Basra
 

"This is a happy day for all Iraqis"
 Hamed Abbas, 35, government employee, Mosul

Iraqi Sunnis are participating in
greater numbers than before

"[I voted] to determine my people's fate so we can do what we want and we can separate from those Arabs".
Ismael Hana Amin, 50, Kurd, government civil servant, Kirkuk

"[We must vote because] the Shia have more seats than they deserve and because of this there has been state terrorism and killings"
Mekky Latif, an election observer, Falluja 
   
"I'm not voting because I have nothing to do with politics. Even if they pick Saddam Hussein, I don't care because Iraq will never be back on its feet. Iraq was usurped by the Americans who are there to stay"
Ali, 39, construction worker, Amman, Jordan