The Iraqi parliament holds a session in Baghdad on January 20, 2018. Photo: Iraqi parliament
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The Iraqi parliament approved the date of elections and announced that both parliamentary and provincial elections will simultaneously take place on May 12. The date has also been confirmed by President Fuad Masum.
“The date of the 12th of May, 2018 be set as the date of parliamentary elections for parliament's fourth round,” read a decree published by the president’s office on Monday, after the parliament’s decision.
The parliament speaker and heads of the parliament blocs approved the date after a Federal Court decision, Musana Amin, the head of the Kurdistan Islamic Union bloc parliamentary bloc, told Rudaw.
Of 328 MPs, 206 attended the session approving the date of the elections which had initially been set by the Iraqi government.
The parliament also urged the government to take necessary security measures for the elections process, to help return displaced Iraqis home, and to implement electronic voting systems, the MP told Rudaw.
On Sunday, federal court in Baghdad dismissed calls for changes in the date set for general elections, arguing such changes are unconstitutional.
The court called on all parties through an "interpretative decision" to commit to the constitutional section on elections, its spokesperson, Iyas Samok, announced on Sunday.
The court ruling came after the parliament sessions on this subject were postponed several times and disagreements about the constitutionality of changing the timing of elections.
Iraq's Council of Ministers has recommended May 12 for the vote, but parliament needed to approve the date.
On Saturday, Iraqi parliament’s session was set to discuss the timing of the general elections and amendments to election law, but was postponed until Monday due to disagreements and boycotts for the second time in less than a week.
Some Sunni and Kurdish blocs boycotted the session over their disagreements concerning the mechanism of voting on the matters at hand.
Sunnis have criticized plans to go ahead with the election while 1.6 million Sunnis, more than half of all displaced Iraqis, are still away from their homes. Holding elections at this time will not be in favor of the Sunnis, they argue.
Salim al-Jabouri, a prominent Sunni politician and the speaker of the parliament said on Saturday there was a suggestion for the parliament elections to take place on time, but for the provincial council elections to be delayed until December.
A parliamentary vote to confirm the date for Iraq’s elections was delayed on Thursday after some Sunnis had requested and were denied a secret ballot on delaying the elections.
Last updated at 7:28 p.m.