Iraq Moves Toward Early Elections with New Independent-Friendly Law
A new Iraqi law passed by the parliament and ratified by President Barham Saleh allows political independents a greater chance of winning elections and seats in parliament. Paving the way towards a vote as early as next year, the ruling creates districts out the country’s 18 provinces and mandates that whoever wins the most votes in the new districts wins the seats, eliminating advantages that party lists accrued in the past. Protesters, who have been filling the streets of Baghdad, are objecting to government and political corruption while demanding early elections. However, the military and security forces have been forcibly cracking down on the protests, leading to hundreds of deaths and injuries. The new election laws are an attempt by the government to partially meet protester demands. Yet a dispute about how to replace retiring judges of the Federal Supreme Court, which rules on constitutional challenges, needs to be settled prior to elections. Iraq’s current 329-member parliament was elected in May 2018.