A soldier stands guard as supporters of Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki attend a campaign rally in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, 550km southeast of Baghdad Image Credit: AP

Baghdad: Bombings in Iraq, including one against a governor’s convoy, killed nine people on Tuesday, a day after a wave of attacks left 55 dead ahead of the first elections since US troops withdrew.

A car bomb killed five people and wounded 15 in Aziziyah, while a roadside bomb killed a soldier and wounded two near Mussayib, both south of the Iraqi capital, security and medical officials said.

Two separate blasts north of Baghdad killed two people and wounded eight others, while a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy carrying Nineveh province’s Governor Atheel Al Nujaifi near the main northern city of Mosul, though no one was harmed.

The spate of bombings comes a day after more than 30 attacks across Iraq killed 55 people and wounded almost 300, raising further questions about the credibility of April 20 provincial elections that are seen as a key test of Iraq’s stability and its security forces’ capabilities.

A total of 14 election hopefuls have already been murdered and just 12 of the country’s 18 provinces will be taking part in the vote.

Soldiers and policemen cast their ballots for the provincial elections on Saturday, a week ahead of the main vote, the country’s first since March 2010 parliamentary polls.

It is also the first election since US troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011.

The election comes amid a long-running crisis between Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and several of his erstwhile government partners, which officials and diplomats say insurgent groups exploit by using the political differences to enhance their room for manoeuvre on the ground.

More than 8,000 candidates are standing in the elections, with 378 seats on provincial councils up for grabs. An estimated 16.2 million Iraqis are eligible to vote.