Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Friday called an early general election for June 6, 2021, roughly a year ahead of when it would normally be held, reported Reuters.
Early elections are a key demand of Iraqi anti-government protesters who staged months of mass demonstrations last year and were killed in their hundreds by security forces and gunmen suspected of links to militia groups.
Iraqi’s parliament must still ratify the election date.
Kadhimi was selected by parliament in May to head a government that would guide the country towards early elections. His predecessor Adel Abdul Mahdi quit under pressure from protests in December last year.
It’s unclear under what electoral law the vote will be held. The premier’s announcement has effectively thrown the ball in parliament’s court, which now must officially vote on the new date. But political differences prevail over the implementation of a new electoral law passed late last year.
Parliament approved the law in December, aiming to give political independents a better chance of winning seats in parliament and weaken the hold of ruling elites.