Interim Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar has urged all Iraqis to vote in Sunday's historic elections, but said he expects fears of violence to deter most from going to the polls.

More than 14 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots for a 275-member national assembly and provincial councils. But Mr. al-Yawar told reporters today (Saturday) he does not expect a majority turn-out.

The country is virtually locked-down for the vote, with its borders closed, traffic banned and extended curfews in force. But despite the tightened security at least 16 Iraqis were killed in fresh insurgent attacks today (Saturday) across the country.

Meanwhile, some 85,000 Iraqis living abroad have already cast their ballots for the new government. Expatriate voting began Friday and will continue through Sunday at voting centers in 14 countries from Australia to Europe to the United States.