Nearly 100 explosions went off in Baghdad in the hours before polls opened for Iraqis to choose a full-term parliament for just the second time since the American invasion, but turnout was still higher than expected. It could be a sign that insurgents are losing the grip they once had over the population. Sunnis did not boycott as they did in 2005, and there were few reports of voting irregularities. The election was a cliffhanger, but as polls closed, party leaders said that it looked like the parties of Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki and former Prime Minister Ayad Alawi had performed well, though neither likely captured an all-out majority. Al Maliki had campaigned on increasing security, Alawi on crossing sectarian lines. President Obama praised Iraqis for voting despite the violence.