Thu, 01 Jun 2023

BAGHDAD, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi parliament on Monday approved amendments to the election law despite the objections of independent candidates and smaller parties.

A parliamentary session attended by 218 lawmakers voted to amend the election law of the parliament and provincial councils, the media office of the parliament said in a statement.

"The amendments aim to hold free and fair elections for the Iraqi Council of Representatives (Parliament) and provincial councils to ensure fair distribution of seats among the competing lists," according to the statement.

The latest amendments to the election law reduced the number of electoral districts from 83 countrywide in the previous 2021 elections to one electoral district for each of Iraq's 18 provinces.

The amendments also returned to the modified Sainte Lague system introduced in the 2014 elections, which depends on a complicated seat distribution formula and tends to favor established parties.

The amendments regarding the number of electoral districts and the seat distribution system angered many independent lawmakers and smaller parties, who walked out of the session because they saw the amendments as a means to strengthen the dominance and control of the larger parties over the political process.

The parliament also decided to hold provincial council elections no later than Dec. 20 this year. The last elections for the provincial councils took place in 2009 and were supposed to take place in 2013 but were halted over political disputes.

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