The move follows a proposal from the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission, which asked for more time to organize the elections.
The Iraqi cabinet unanimously voted to postpone the country’s general elections until October 10, 2021, according to the official INA news agency.
The polls, which were scheduled for June 6, will still be held about a year before the official end of the current parliament’s term in 2022.
Tuesday’s postponement decision follows a proposal from the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), which called for more time to implement the legal and logistical measures necessary to hold free and fair elections.
Earlier this week, IHEC suggested postponing the elections until October 16, according to a statement posted on its official website on Sunday.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi – who took office in May last year – had promised to hold early elections to appease protesters demanding an overhaul of the country’s political system.
Mass protests began in October 2019, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets of the capital, Baghdad, and across the south to protest the lack of economic opportunities, rampant corruption and what many see as the malicious influence of sectarian interests.
They accused the political elite, especially lawmakers, of wasting Iraq’s oil wealth to line their own pockets.
Elections in Iraq are sometimes marred by violence and often by fraud.
The turnout in the last Iraqi elections was 44.5%, but particularly low in some impoverished southern Shia Muslim areas. Many Iraqis say they do not trust the Iraqi electoral system.
Al-Kadhimi’s government is facing a health crisis amid a rapid spread of the coronavirus and a budget crisis due to weak revenues and oil exports, as well as challenges from powerful armed groups that s ‘oppose him.