National elections in Iraq to be held as scheduled: PM

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Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

Baghdad : The national elections in Iraq will be held as scheduled on May 15, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said urging the people to participate in the polls to support his anti-corruption plan in the coming years.

A statement issued by Abadi's office on Saturday said the Premier made his comments while visiting an electoral center in Baghdad in order to receive his own new voter card, Xinhua news agency reported.

"There is a campaign to fight corruption, which requires uniting the efforts of all (Iraqis) to eliminate it, just like we eliminated the gangs of terrorist Daesh (Islamic State group)," Abadi said.

"The country is moving on the right path."

The Iraqi government decided in October to hold the parliamentary elections on May 15, 2018, vowing that the federal government would provide a safe environment for the elections.

The federal government will work on returning the displaced people to their homes provided that "the parties running the elections must not have armed wings", Abadi's office said in a statement on October 31.

The Iraqi Electoral Commission on October 22 said it suggested the next parliamentary election to be held on May 12, 2018, for the next four-year legislative term.

The parliamentary elections must be held at least 45 days before the end of the current legislative term and the date of the elections must be set by a resolution of Abadi's cabinet in coordination with the Independent High Electoral Commission, according to the Iraqi Constitution.

The elections date must be ratified later by the current Parliament before the endorsement of the Presidential Council to be fully approved.

Iraq's previous general election was held on April 30, 2014, when Iraqis elected 328 lawmakers for the Parliament, which in turn elected Abadi to form an inclusive government from the Shiite alliance, Kurds and Sunnis.