War-torn Iraq will hold parliamentary elections on October 10, a year ahead of schedule, to appease an anti-government protest movement as corruption and economic crisis continue to plague the country. The country is emerging from almost two decades of conflict and insurgency since the 2003 US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, promising to bring freedom and democracy. Although security has improved in recent years, elections threaten new volatility in a nation still terrorised by militant attacks and where major political factions are heavily armed. It is feared that the turnout will again be low among the 25 million eligible voters, many of whom are deeply disillusioned and view the entire political class as inept and corrupt. Despite being a major oil producer, Iraq is close to being “economically and ideologically bankrupt,” said Renad Mansour of the London-based Chatham House. The political system is “unable to … provide sufficient jobs or services,” he added. According to UN figures, nearly a third of Iraq’s almost 40 million people live in poverty, and the pandemic and last year’s fall in oil prices only deepened a long-running crisis.