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Iraq: Sunni bloc urges pullout of militias before polls

Iraq's parliamentary election is set to be held in May

12.12.2017
Iraq: Sunni bloc urges pullout of militias before polls

Baghdad

By Ibrahim Salih  

BAGHDAD 

A Sunni parliamentary bloc has called for the withdrawal of pro-government militias from Iraqi cities ahead of the country’s parliamentary election next year.  

In a statement on Tuesday, the Iraqi Forces Coalition (IFC) said the pullout of "unofficial forces" from the cities would ensure the holding of a "fair" election in Iraq.  

It underlined the "need to create a favorable atmosphere for holding election on time via the full return of the displaced people to their cities".  

The Sunni bloc, which holds 53 seats in the 328-member parliament, called on the government to "remove obstacles and address reasons that prevent the return of the displaced to their homes".  

Iraq's parliamentary election is scheduled to be held in May.  

The Sunni bloc warned that holding the polls in May "would deprive most residents of the liberated areas from the right to participate" in the vote.  

Nearly four million Iraqis are estimated to have been forced to flee their homes since the Daesh terrorist group seized vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in 2014.  

According to Iraqi government estimates, roughly half of those displaced from their homes have since returned.  

Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced that the war against Daesh was over, saying that Iraq's border with Syria had been completely secured.

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