Individual leaders, not party politicians to lead Iraq as new election law comes to effect

Source: Reuters
Place: Baghdad, Iraq Published: Dec 24, 2019, 09.06 PM(IST)

An Iraqi student shouts slogans during ongoing anti-government protests, in Basra, Iraq, December 24, 2019 Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Mass protests have gripped Iraq since October 1 and protesters, most of them young, are demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt

Iraq's parliament approved on Tuesday a new electoral law, a key demand of protesters to make elections fairer, but political deadlock is still holding up the selection of an interim prime minister.

Mass protests have gripped Iraq since October 1 and protesters, most of them young, are demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and keeping most Iraqis in poverty. More than 450 people have been killed.

"In the name of Iraq, and in the name of the Iraqi people, in the name of the martyrs, in the name of all those who sacrificed, in the name of the displaced, the law has been approved," Council of Representatives Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi said after the vote.

Watch: Thousands protest in Iraq ahead of deadline to name new PM

The new election law passed by parliament will allow voters to elect individual lawmakers instead of choosing from party lists and have each member of parliament represent a specific electoral district instead of groups of legislators representing entire provinces.

Protesters have demanded not just a new electoral law, but also the removal of the entire political class and an independent prime minister with no party affiliation.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned last month under pressure from the street demonstrations but has remained in office in a caretaker capacity. The constitutional deadline to name a replacement expired on Thursday.

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