Baghdad: Iraqi President Barham Salih, despite his reservations about some of its laws, has approved the new law on parliamentary elections, but stressed the need to fulfill the criteria for early elections.
"In compliance with my constitutional duty, I approved the election law, in preparation for holding early, fair, and just elections," said the president while addressing the Medias after signing the law on Thursday.
As reported by Xinhua news agency, Barham Salih said that reforming the Iraqi election law aims to guarantee the right of Iraqis to elect their representatives by securing free and fair elections away from corruption and fraud reported.
"Electoral corruption is dangerous because it threatens societal peace and economic integrity, as the electoral corruption and financial corruption are interlinked, inseparable, and destructive," Salih said.
He pointed out that the previous parliamentary elections after 2003 saw several problems in terms of fraud and distrust, which were the key reason for citizens' unwillingness to vote, undermining their trust in the legitimacy of the new regime and of the democratic process as a whole.
Salih stressed the need to "ensure a current political generation that realizes the desired reform project in response to the blood that has been shed on the path to revolutionary changes." He also acknowledged the reservations that some politicians registered on the latest electoral reform which was passed recently by parliament, saying: "This law does not represent everything we aspire to, but at the same time, it represents a development for the better and a path to reform."
Earlier, the Iraqi Parliament agreed to set 83 electoral districts in the country on the basis of a women's quota of 25 per cent in the 329-seat parliament, whereas the previous election laws constituted each of the 18 provinces of the country as a single electoral district.
Last year, most of the election bill was passed by the Parliament, but gaps persisted in the number of electoral districts due to the political row between the political blocs. The new electoral reform is a response to the anti-government protests, and it made it easier for independent politicians to win a seat in the upcoming parliament.
The parliamentary elections were held on May 12, 2018, and the next elections were supposed to take place in 2022. On July 31, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi set June 6, 2021, as the date for the early elections.