Iraqi President welcomes Kadhimi's call for early elections
Iraqi President Bahrahm Salih has welcomed a call by the country's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi for holding early elections in line with the pledges he made to fulfill the demand of protesters decrying several issues in the Arab country.
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Kadhimi proposed on Friday that the general elections be pushed forward by almost a year and held on June 6, 2021.
Salih praised the decision, calling “free and fair” early elections one of the necessary requirements of political reform and a national right.
The country held its last such elections in 2018 that featured no more than a 44.5-percent voter turnout, the lowest since the 2003 ouster of former dictator Saddam Hussein.
The polls were followed by sometimes thousands-strong rallies across the country, with protesters decrying various shortcomings, including reported corrupt practices at high political levels and economic hardships.
The protests were intervened by instances of deadly violence blamed on suspicious elements trying to take advantage of the existing social and political turmoil.
Former prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi was forced to step down amid the rallies last November.
His resignation was followed by two unsuccessful attempts at appointing a premier, who would secure the long-term mandate of the political elite, until Kadhimi was appointed in May.
The United Nations also praised the premier's announcement, saying it would promote "greater stability and democracy."
Salih added that Iraq could not keep withstanding the political crisis that it has for the past several years.
“Resolution of the crisis entails a courageous national decision” that materializes in the form of holding the elections, he added.