Iraq introduces electoral reforms and announces early elections

Iraq

On Thursday, Iraqi President Barham Saleh made new amends to the election laws, in order to pacify the protestors and retain their faith in the electoral process. He also emphasised the need for free, fair and transparent elections.

As per the new election laws, Iran’s 18 provinces were to be divided into several electoral districts, in order to prevent major parties from forming a coalition group, which generally makes it easy for them to take away all the seats in a specific province. Instead, the authorities decided that the seats would go to whoever wins maximum votes in their respective electoral districts. It would increase the chances of independent candidates to win the elections and become part of the country’s parliament.

“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,” said Saleh during his speech on Thursday. “This is what we aspire to, through an electoral law which will enable Iraqis from all walks of life to vote and to participate in elections, God willing, without the historical problems of forgery, manipulation and pressure.”

Last year in October, the country faced its worst protests as tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to condemn deep-rooted corruption prevalent in the government set up, its poor service and high rate of unemployment in Baghdad. The current electoral reforms are believed to be consequence of intense youth-led protest movement which shook the country. The protesters faced huge crackdown from authorities and hundreds lost their lives trying to raise voice against the chaotic regime.

Saleh said that though new elections reforms were not perfect but a step in the right direction. The other election reforms included biometric voter registration and reforming the electoral commission. Saleh also assured the people that the government would also look into altering the system of replacing retired judges at the Federal Supreme Court — the body that looks into constitutional disputes. The country leader announced that there would be holding early elections as demanded by protestors. Iraq elected its government last in May 2018, to sever the regular four-year tenure.

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