Iraq’s parliament on Monday set May 12 as the date for holding national elections despite calls from the country’s Sunni community to delay the vote until the return of nearly 3 million people displaced by the fight against the Islamic State group. Shiite lawmaker Abbas al-Bayati said lawmakers at a session in the Shiite-dominated house “unanimously” approved the date proposed by the government.
The deeply-divided parliament failed many times to set the date, prompting the country’s Supreme Court to issue a ruling on Sunday against any delay to the elections, the fourth since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
The over three-year fight against IS has left most of the Sunni areas in northern and western Iraq in ruins, and poor public services have exacerbated the situation. The Sunnis argue that the current situation will make it hard for Sunni voters to update their information ahead of elections or cast their ballots.