Iraqi government postpones early election to October

Baghdad, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- Iraq’s government on Tuesday decided to postpone general elections until 10 October after a request by the electoral commission to ensure “fair” polls.

The elections were initially scheduled for 6 June.

The cabinet “unanimously” voted for the new date after an extraordinary meeting held by Iraq’s High Electoral Commission, which oversees the democratic process in the Arab country, the Prime Minister office said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The decision was made after studying a proposal presented by the electoral commission to the council of ministers, which includes important technical reasons, which would guarantee the integrity of the elections and equal opportunities for everyone to freely and fairly take part” in the elections, the statement ran.

Initially, the elections were set for 6 June in response to demands from protesters who took to the streets across the country in October 2019.

The protesters called for better public services and an end to political corruption and sectarianism.

Over the past few months, several political leaders and the electoral commission itself have warned that holding elections in June would not be possible due to “technical” reasons that would prevent fair and transparent elections under the supervision of the United Nations.

The commission on Monday sent the government a letter to formally request the postponement of the elections, claiming that only a few parties had registered and that the deadline for candidates had already expired.

In November, the Iraqi President Barham Saleh ratified a new electoral law, modifying the constituency and preventing parties from running on a joint list in a single district.

But parliament has yet to approve a series of laws guaranteeing the integrity of the elections, one of which is to form a Federal Court as the sole entity with the legal authority to validate the elections’ result.

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