Hundreds protest new proposed election law in Baghdad

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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 was set to discuss the proposed law again in its session on Monday, but lawmakers voted to postpone the discussion until Saturday.

The return to a single district per province is backed by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Iran-backed 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.

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