World Bulletin / News Desk
The decision came one day after prominent Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr declared that the country’s next government would be a "government of militias" if the Hashd al-Shaabi were allowed to field candidates in provincial council and parliamentary polls slated for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
In a Sunday statement, the commission said it had based its decision on the fact that the Hashd al-Shaabi constituted a "military organization with links to the [Iraqi] security agencies".
Iraq’s Political Parties Law, it went on to explain, which was ratified by parliament last year, prohibited the registration of "military or paramilitary organizations" as political parties.
On July 20, the electoral commission began the registration process for political parties that planned to participate in the upcoming elections.
According to Hashd al-Shaabi spokesman Karim al-Nouri, the militia group’s primary responsibility at present was to pursue the fight against the ISIL extremist organization, which continues to hold large swathes of territory in war-torn Iraq.
"Our presence in the battlefield today is to confront ISIL," al-Nouri told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
"We didn’t want to arm ourselves, but the country’s dire security situation forced us to go from a civilian organization to a military one," he said.
He added: "Several Hashd al-Shaabi leaders, including Hadi al-Amiri [a former Iraqi transport minister and current commander of the Hashd-affiliated Al-Badr Organization] is basically a politician, not a military figure."
"Our main concern now is pursuing the fight against ISIL," al-Nouri asserted.
Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when ISIL captured the northern city of Mosul along with vast swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions.
In recent months, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and its allies on the ground, including the Hashd al-Shaabi -- has since managed to retake much of the territory lost earlier to ISIL.
Nevertheless, the extremist group remains in firm control of several parts of the country, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.