BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraqi lawmakers passed early yesterday controversial amendments to the country’s election law that could undermine the chances for smaller parties and independent candidates to win seats in future polls.
The amendments increase the size of electoral districts, a move widely backed by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Iran-backed parties. The coalition forms the majority bloc in the current Parliament, which brought Iraq Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to power last year.
The bill passed in a 206-12 vote in the 329-seat assembly, according to media reports. The remaining lawmakers were absent from the hours-long session, which started on Sunday night.
The amendments also reverse key articles passed ahead of the 2021 federal election and redraw the electoral maps to have Iraq return to one electoral district per each governorate.
Several Iraqi political blocs and independent parliamentarians had rejected the amendments and stalled the vote for weeks. Hundreds of protesters gathered over the past weeks to voice their opposition.
Independent lawmakers who objected to the law walked out of a previous session, causing it to be postponed due to a lack of quorum. They attempted to stall the vote again overnight by protesting and disturbing the count, before Iraqi security forces escorted them out of the assembly hall.
On Saturday, hundreds protested in Baghdad against the new amendments, while some protesters in other parts of Iraq blocked roads with burning tyres.