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Iraq plans to hold parliamentary elections in May

Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi has not announced whether he will seek a new term [AFP]

Date of publication: 1 November, 2017

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Iraq plans to hold parliamentary elections on May 15 to choose a prime minister.
Iraq's government plans to hold parliamentary elections on May 15, a statement from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office said on Tuesday.

The date of the vote, which will also choose Iraq's prime minister, was decided in a government meeting but is awaiting approval from parliament.

Abadi, who has served as prime minister since 2014, has not announced whether he will be seeking a new term in office.

His time as Iraq's leader has seen the country rebuild its military and expel the Islamic State group from significant swathes of territory. This includes victory over the extremist group in Fallujah, Mosul and Tal Afar with support from a US-led international military coalition.

Abadi's reorganisation of Iraq's military also saw the controversial Hashd al-Shaabi militia group officially become part of the country's armed forces.

Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces, has been accused by rights groups of war crimes and fomenting sectarian tensions.

Abadi or his potential successor will have to guide Iraq through a period in which tensions with Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region have also been inflamed.

The office of prime minister holds the most executive power in Iraq and puts the premier as commander of the armed forces.

In line with power-sharing rules established after the US-led invasion in 2003, the office is reserved for a member of Iraq's Shia majority.

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