Fresh protests in Iraq over new election bill
New protests erupted in Iraq late on Sunday denouncing a draft election law that would increase the size of the country's electoral districts, potentially undermining independent candidates.
In the capital city Baghdad, protesters blocked major roads and burned tyres. Similar rallies organised by various civil society groups took place in the centre and south of Iraq, reported The New Arab's Arabic language outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Protesters chanted slogans rejecting the new law, which they said would allow the current main political parties to monopolise power.
Demonstrators told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that activists were working to unify efforts to organise more protests in the coming days.
فيديو: تظاهرة في محافظة واسط اعتراضًا على مسودة تعديل قانون الانتخابات pic.twitter.com/QqgrED2L23— سكوب (@Scope_iq) March 5, 2023
[Translation: Video: A demonstration in Wasit governorate against the draft election law]
On Saturday, Iraq's parliament debated the proposed draft, which would return the country to having one electoral district per governorate.
Several Iraqi political blocs, independent MPs, and civil society groups rejected the amendments after the parliament finished its first reading of them on 13 February.
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.
Draft laws require three readings in parliament before being put to a vote.