BAGHDAD, Oct. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Eight of Iraq's 18 provinces, including three Sunni Arab provinces, had a turnout of more than 66 percent in the landmark referendum on the draft constitution, an electoral official said on Saturday.
Hamdiya al-Husseini, member of the Independent Elections Commission of Iraq, gave the figure at a news conference after the close of polls, without giving the final turnout figures.
"In eight Iraqi provinces the turnout reached to more than 66 percent, including three Sunni provinces of Salahudin, Diyala and Ninevah in addition to the capital," al-Husseini told the reporters.
"Another eight provinces had the turnout between 33 and 66 percent. Most of the eight were in the Shiite south and the three Kurdish provinces in the north," she added.
She said that in the Shiite province of Qadissiyah south of Baghdad, the turnout rate was lower than 33 percent, while there was no information about the turnout in the Sunni Anbar province.
Al-Husseini also told the press conference that there were violations as some ballot boxes and papers were stolen, but "such things were expected and the commission compensated the stolen things."
She confirmed that ten of the commission personnel were kidnapped in Anbar province by "terrorists".
The commission would not be able to release partial results before two days and the final result of the referendum may be on Oct. 24, said Farid Ayar, another member of the elections commission.
Over 6,000 polling stations throughout Iraq opened to the voters out of the total population of 26 million when the country's landmark referendum on a draft constitution kicked off early Saturday, but the fate of the charter still remains unknown.
According to the timetable of Iraq's political process, new elections will be held by the end of this year to form a new parliament if the charter is approved in the referendum.
However, if two thirds of voters in any three of the 18 provinces say no in the referendum, the charter will be vetoed and the parliament then dissolved. Enditem