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Iraq PM calls for national dialogue to prepare for early elections

December 10, 2020 at 8:54 am

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi at the White House 20 August 2020 [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, called on Tuesday for a comprehensive national dialogue to create a suitable environment conducive for holding early elections next year.

A government statement revealed that Al-Kadhimi met with President Barham Salih, Parliament Speaker Muhammad Al-Halbousi and leaders of the political blocs and proposed conducting a comprehensive national dialogue to pave the way for the necessary political, security and social environment to conduct free and transparent early elections.

Iraq is slated to hold parliamentary elections on 6 June 2021. However, the country has been witnessing a suffocating financial crisis due to the drop in oil sales coupled with the recent escalation in Daesh attacks and fears that the country will be the site of a proxy war between the US and Iran.

According to the statement, the attendees affirmed “their support for government measures” to achieve economic reforms in the federal budget draft bill for the fiscal year 2021 as well as dialogue with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to solve the outstanding issues.

Last month, the Iraqi parliament approved a bill allowing the government to borrow nearly $10 billion to cover the fiscal deficit and pay civil servants’ salaries. However, KRG lawmakers rejected the bill which stipulated that Erbil should deliver “unspecified amounts of oil” to the federal government in Baghdad in return for revenue.

However on Tuesday, the KRG Finance Ministry announced its readiness to abide by the bill following weeks of violent protests over deteriorating economic conditions in the region and unpaid salaries.

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