Iraqi president approves new electoral law

Iraqi President Barham Salih signs new electoral law, November 5, 2020.

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi President Barham Salih on Thursday approved Iraq’s new electoral law, saying the country needs fair and free elections.

The president said he had ratified the electoral law in an attempt to hold early, fair and free elections, scheduled for June 2021.

“The law was passed after a long debate,” Salih said. “The reform of the electoral law was a national demand to secure Iraqis’ right to choose their representatives without fear of forgery, manipulation and pressure on voters.”

Salih called on the government’s institutions to make preparations to hold early, fair and free elections, which were a demand of Iraqi protesters in October 2019.

“Electoral corruption is a serious scourge, that threatens the peace and stability of our community as well as the country’s economic viability,” he said.

“Iraq deserves better. Iraqis have suffered, and continue to suffer. We have to create a political climate which will help alleviate this suffering, as well as ensuring justice and integrity during the choosing of a strong government, one that preserves the state’s sovereignty and prestige,” he added.

On October 24, the Iraqi Council of Representatives voted to approve new voting districts for sixteen governorates. It approved seventeen electoral districts for Baghdad, six for Basra, five each for Dhi Qar and Sulaimani, four each for Babil, Anbar, Erbil and Diyala, three each for Najaf, Saladin, Duhok, Diwaniyah, Karbala, Wasit and Maysan, and two more for Muthanna governorate.

In July, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called for early elections to take place on June 6, 2021, which is one of the main demands of anti-government protesters who organized months of mass demonstrations beginning in October 2020.

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