Iraq’s premier promises early parliamentary polls for June 2021

But the section detailing voting procedures and constituency boundaries has not been finalised, according to diplomats and experts.

It was not clear what role Iraq’s election commission — regularly accused of bias — would have in organising the polls.

The United Nations mission in Iraq (UNAMI) welcomed Kadhemi’s announcement.

“Early elections fulfil a key popular demand on the road to greater stability and democracy in Iraq,” it said in a statement.

“The United Nations is ready to provide support and technical advice as requested by Iraq to ensure free, fair and credible elections that win the public’s trust.”

The 2018 election was marred by a record low turnout of 44.5 percent, according to official figures. Independent observers believe the true turnout was much lower.

Voters abandoned major political parties in favour of Shiite leader and former militia chief Moqtada Sadr, who allied with communists on an anti-corruption platform.

Iraq was earlier this year at the centre of heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran, after the US killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani — alongside Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis — in a January drone strike in Baghdad.

Together with months of political crisis, Iraq is also grappling with a major economic downturn due to the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the demand for oil, the lifeblood of the country’s economy.

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