A woman casts her vote during the elections in September 2014. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraq's 2018 parliamentary and provincial elections will be held three days earlier than previously set in order to not interfere with the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced that the Council of Ministers officially approved during the weekly meeting on Tuesday that the country’s next elections will be on May 12, 2018.
Iraq's electoral commission previously had recommended the date of May 12, but Tuesday's approval makes the date-change official.
The announcement to predate the voting by three days is because the date originally set for elections, May 15, marks the first day of the Muslim month of Ramadan.
Abadi's prime ministership is set to expire this year when the new parliament may or may not choose to re-appoint him.
Provincial elections originally scheduled for September were postponed as many areas of Iraq continued to be in strife because of the ISIS war.
Sunni parties have asked for elections to again be delayed until situations in their areas normalize.
Iraq has been divided into 18 districts for the election process, which will be held using electronic voting stations for the first time.
The extending of voting deadlines has been a controversial procedure in many previous Iraqi elections.
Iraq’s last parliamentary elections were held in 2014 and saw the ruling Shiite National Alliance form a coalition government with Kurdish and Sunni parties.