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Iraqi premier calls election, bans armed factions from contesting: Iraq will hold a parliamentary election on May 15 next year and political parties with armed wings will not be allowed to take part, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Wednesday.
“The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), as a part of the Iraqi security system, have no right to practice politics,” Al-Abadi said. “So, as a military institution, they will not participate in the election. Political parties should give up their armed wings, or they will be prevented from taking part.”
The PMF is a government body established in June 2014 to cover all the armed factions fighting Daesh alongside the Iraqi government. It consists of more than 10,000 volunteers from all Iraqi sects, ethnicities and minorities, but its majority is Shiite and Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitary forces form its backbone. Al-Abadi’s announcement is aimed at isolating these troops from their original armed factions.
The prime minister began a campaign some months ago to restructure the PMF units, merge many of them with the regular army units, dissolve many battalions and form new brigades of fighters from different armed factions, prevent the use of the names of irregular factions, and prohibit the use of any militia marks, banners or pictures.

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Iraqi premier calls election, bans armed factions from contesting: Iraq will hold a parliamentary election on May 15 next year and political parties with armed wings will not be allowed to take part, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Wednesday.“The Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), as a part of the Iraqi security system, have no right to practice politics,” Al-Abadi said. “So, as a military institution, they will not participate in the election. Political parties should give up their armed wings, or they will be prevented from taking part.”The PMF is a government body established in June 2014 to cover all the armed factions fighting Daesh alongside the Iraqi government. It consists of more than 10,000 volunteers from all Iraqi sects, ethnicities and minorities, but its majority is Shiite and Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitary forces form its backbone. Al-Abadi’s announcement is aimed at isolating these troops from their original armed factions.