Vatican delegation in Najaf to prepare for Pope Francis meeting with Ayatollah Sistani, according to Iraqi media.
Iraq’s cabinet has unanimously voted to postpone the country’s general elections to October 10, 2021, according to the INA state news agency.
The polls, which were scheduled for June 6, will still be held roughly a year early as the current parliament’s term officially ends in 2022.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi had promised to hold early elections.
The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) of Iraq has sent invitations to embassies of 52 countries to monitor the country’s elections slated to take place on 10th of October this year.
IHEC Spokeswoman Jumana al-Ghalai told the media that the Commission’s law allows the recruitment of international observers to monitor the election process to ensure its transparency.
October’s elections will decide the 328 members of the Council of Representatives who will in turn elect a new President and Prime Minister.
Prime Minister’s Adviser Abdul-Hussein al-Anbaki said that the UN’s role in the polls is only to monitor the electoral process and not to supervise or run it.
The invitation by the IHEC came to ensure the integrity of the elections in accordance with international standards to restore the citizens’ confidence in the electoral process, as many Iraqis believe the 2018 Parliamentary elections were marred by fraud and irregularities.
On 19th of January, the Iraqi Government approved October 10 as the new date for the elections to allow the IHEC more time to complete preparations. The last Parliamentary elections in Iraq were held on 12th of May 2018.
Voter turnout in Iraq’s last election was 44.5 percent, but especially low in some impoverished southern Shia Muslim areas. Many Iraqis say they have no faith in Iraq’s electoral system.