Iraq’s cabinet decided on Tuesday to postpone the June parliamentary election until next October, official Iraqi media reported.

Iran Press/Middle East: The government last year set a parliamentary election for June 6, 2021, roughly a year ahead of when it would normally be held, but Iraq’s Independent High Election Commission (IHEC) on Monday proposed it be delayed to October to allow more time to prepare.

Early elections were a key demand of anti-government protesters who staged mass demonstrations that started in October 2019. 

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Tuesday the decision to set a new date to hold an early contest was made to give IHEC enough time to be fully prepared to hold fair and transparent elections, a cabinet statement cited Kadhimi as saying.

Kadhimi was selected by parliament in May to head a government that would guide the country towards early elections. His predecessor Adel Abdul Mahdi quit under pressure from protests in late 2019.

Activists who led rallies in October 2019 also demanded fairer elections and changes to Iraq’s voting process and election committee after widespread accusations of fraud in the last nationwide vote in 2018.