Iraqi gov't approves Oct. 10 as new date for early elections

Source: Xinhua| 2021-01-20 05:49:12|Editor: huaxia

A voter inks his finger after casting ballot at a polling station in Baghdad, capital of Iraq, May 12, 2018. Iraq held parliamentary election on May 12, in which 7,000 candidates competed for 329 seats. (Xinhua/Meng Tao)

The Iraqi government postpones the date for early elections from June to October this year to give more time for preparations.

BAGHDAD, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi government on Tuesday approved Oct. 10 as the new date for the country's early elections to give more time for the electoral commission to complete preparations.

"The Council of Ministers voted unanimously in favor of setting Oct. 10, 2021 as the date for early elections," the media office of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in a statement.

The vote came after the council held a session involving the head and members of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to discuss IHEC's proposal to postpone the previous date of the elections on June 6, the statement said.

Iraqi soldiers are seen at the al-Sinak Bridge in Baghdad, Iraq on Feb. 12, 2020, which was reopened after massive anti-government protests in the capital. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)

The council attributed the decision "to important technical reasons, and to ensure the integrity of the elections by providing equal opportunities for everyone to participate in the elections freely and fairly," the statement said.

The prime minister stressed that "the government is capable of ensuring the security of the elections through military and security plans that have been prepared for months."

On Jan. 17, the IHEC proposed to postpone the early elections after reviewing the timetable for the electoral process in consultation with the United Nations.

Iraqis wearing facemasks shop at a reopened mall in central Baghdad, Iraq on July 21, 2020, after the government eased a curfew imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.(Xinhua)

It attributed the postponement to the registration of a small number of coalitions, and the need to give more time to register more candidates and coalitions, in addition to allowing the UN experts and observers to take their role in monitoring the electoral process.

Last July, al-Kadhimi set June 6, 2021 as the date for the early elections, which came in response to the anti-government protests.

The previous parliamentary elections in Iraq were held on May 12, 2018, and the next elections were originally scheduled to take place in 2022.