Iraqi parliament has approved the date of November 6 for provincial council elections, which were dissolved during anti-government protests in 2019, according to a statement released by the parliament.
The upcoming council elections will be held in 15 out of 18 Iraqi provinces, with the exclusion of the three provinces in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region. These will be the first council elections in a decade.
The provincial councils, established by the 2005 constitution after the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule, have considerable authority in federal Iraq. This includes the allocation of funds for healthcare, transportation, and education.
The last provincial elections took place in 2013, when loyalists of then prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki came out on top.
The next provincial elections should have taken place in 2018, but were postponed.
A year later, amid vast anti-government rallies, protesters demanded and obtained the dissolution of the provincial councils, in part because critics accused them of being rife with corruption.
Alaa Al-Rikabi, an independent MP who emerged in the aftermath of the October 2019 protest movement, condemned the return of the councils.
“We refuse to allow them to be reinstated,” he said, adding that they “open the door wide to corruption.”