ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi parliament will hold its 12th session on Saturday to discuss upcoming local elections and the membership of parliamentary committees.
The Council of Representatives’ press office announced on Friday that lawmakers would convene the following day at 1:00 pm to discuss the two topics.
Members are scheduled to first discuss which MPs will sit on permanent parliamentary committees and who will lead them. The upcoming provincial polls across Iraq have been previously scheduled to be held at the end of this year, but the date is now uncertain.
According to the announcement, the parliament will not discuss the national budget of 2019, which lawmakers held a session to address on Tuesday. During the session, members of most blocs voiced opposition to it, citing various complaints about the way the budget is allocated. Later, voting on the budget was suspended until next Monday.
Also on Tuesday, the Iraqi Council of Ministers ordered the formation of a committee made of government officials and lawmakers to address issues related to the budget.
The provincial election was previously set to be held on Dec. 22, but recently, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced that they needed to be re-scheduled to a later date.
The commission needs much more time than a December election would allow for planning and execution, IHEC Chief Maan al-Hitawi said in a statement.
“Preparations for these elections would require at least eight months to a year,” Hitawi previously said, complaining the parliament has so far failed to decide to provide a necessary budget allotment to IHEC, tying its hands.
The Iraqi provincial elections do not include provinces in the Kurdistan Region: Erbil, Sulaimani, Duhok, and Halabja. The Kurdish semi-autonomous region holds its own local elections as determined by its regional electoral commission.
Editing by John J. Catherine