The Iraqi Parliament voted at dawn on Monday, March 20, 2023, to set November as the date for holding provincial elections, more than 10 years after they were last held.
According to a statement issued by the media department in the House of Representatives, published by the official news agency, the parliament voted on “the date for the provincial elections on November 6, 2023.”
These elections include 15 out of 18 provinces, three of which are within the autonomous region of Kurdistan.
This will be the first local provincial council elections to take place in Iraq since April 2013, during which the lists of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki topped the results. Prior to that, provincial council elections were held in 2009 only.
It was scheduled to take place in 2018, coinciding with the parliamentary elections at the time, but it was postponed more than once.
In the wake of unprecedented popular protests that reached their climax in the fall of 2019, the Iraqi parliament voted at that time to dissolve these councils and vote to end their work, which was a demand of the demonstrators.
According to the Iraqi constitution, the provincial councils have wide powers, as they “are not subject to the control or supervision of any ministry or any entity not linked to a ministry, and they have independent finances” and they have “broad administrative and financial powers.”
Representative Alaa al-Rikabi, head of the extension bloc emanating from the October protests, expressed, in contact with AFP, his refusal to return to the provincial councils.
He said, “The Iraqi people in general view the experience of the provincial councils as a failure, and it was one of the doors to corruption and did not produce anything.”
“We see it as a gateway to corruption, and we refuse to restore the provincial councils,” he added.