Aug 01, 2020 08:24 UTC
  • Iraqi premier calls early elections in June 2021, one year earlier than scheduled

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi says he will hold early parliamentary elections next June, a year earlier than scheduled, doubling down on a promise he made when he came to power to meet a key demand of anti-government protesters.

“June 6, 2021, has been fixed as the date for the next legislative elections,” the premier said during a televised speech on Friday, stressing that everything would be done in a bid to “protect and ensure the success of these polls.”

In a statement shortly released following the speech, the United Nations mission in Iraq hailed Kadhimi’s announcement, saying the move would promote “greater stability and democracy.”

Mass protests swept over the capital Baghdad and the south of the country in October 2019, with young crowds demanding jobs, services, and urgent action against alleged rampant corruption.

Former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi stepped down under the pressure of the rallies, which were sometimes marred by deadly violence. 

The incumbent premier was nominated in April, months after the resignation of Abdul Mahdi, and took office following a political consensus in May, promising to deliver on key protesters' demands.

Furthermore, Kadhimi has promised dialogue with protesters and has requested comprehensive lists of all those who have been killed and wounded throughout the months-long protests in a bid to put those accountable on trial and bring about compensation.

The next legislative elections had originally been due for May 2022. After the date was drawn a year closer by the prime minister, it is now the parliament’s turn to officially vote on the new date.