Thousands of Iraqis went to the polls Sunday, despite dozens of insurgent attacks meant to disrupt their national elections.
In Baghdad, at least eight people died when a massive bomb ripped through an apartment building.
Still, the head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission said voter turnout was between 55 and 60 percent.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama praised the election - the first ever planned and implemented entirely by Iraqis.
"The level of security ... speaks to the growing professionalism of Iraqi security forces," the president said.
"By any measure this was an important milestone in Iraqi history," Obama said. "In a strong turnout millions of Iraqis exercised their right to vote with enthusiasm and optimism."
The vote count is now underway and is expected to take about three days.
The U.S. is banking on a stable election process, which will allow it to close or hand over more bases to Iraqis as soon as this week. It would also allow U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by summer's end.