News ID: 112861
Publish Date : 27 February 2023 - 21:51

Hundreds Protest New Proposed Election Law in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AP) – Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Baghdad on Monday to denounce a draft elections law that would increase the size of the country’s electoral districts, potentially undermining independent candidates.
The current legislation, under which the 2021 election was held, breaks up each of the country’s 18 provinces into several electoral districts. The law, which was a key demand of mass anti-government protests that kicked off in late 2019, was seen as giving independent candidates a better chance at winning.
Last week, parliament debated the draft, which would return Iraq to having one electoral district per governorate. Independent lawmakers who objected to the proposal, walked out of the session, which ended early due to losing its quorum.
The parliament is set to discuss the proposed law again on Monday but lawmakers were not expected to vote on the proposal.
The return to a single district per province is backed by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of parties that forms the majority bloc in the current parliament, and which brought Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to power last year.
Monday’s protests took place as heavy security forces surrounded the parliament and closed off Joumhouriya Bridge on the Tigris River that leads to the government areas of the heavily fortified Green Zone.
‘Iraq Now Peaceful, Life Returning’
Nearly 20 years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid wants the world to know his country now is at peace, democratic and intent on rebuilding economic life while maintaining a government that serves the whole country and the region.
Rashid told The Associated Press on Sunday that after overcoming the hardships of the past two decades, Iraq is ready to focus on improving everyday life for its people. Those hardships included years of resistance to foreign troops, and attacks by Daesh terrorists who once controlled large areas, including Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul.
“Peace and security is all over the country, and I would be very glad if you will report that and emphasize on that, instead of giving a picture of Iraq ... still (as) a war zone, which a lot of media still do,” Rashid said.
While Iraq’s major fighting has ended, there have been some recent outbreaks of violence — including on the day of Rashid’s election, which came after a yearlong stalemate following the October 2021 election. Ahead of the vote, at least nine rockets targeted Iraq’s parliament inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone.