Iraq: Parliament OKs key laws
Iraq's parliament on Wednesday approved three key laws that set a date for provincial elections, allot $48 billion for 2008 spending, and provide limited amnesty to detainees in Iraqi custody. The three laws were bundled together for one vote to satisfy the demands of minority Kurds who feared they might be double-crossed on their budget demands.
According to the AP, the Kurds wanted 17 percent of the budget to be directed to their semiautonomous regional government in the north. Other groups have argued the Kurds deserve less because they represent a smaller portion of the population.
The vote came a day after the Sunni speaker of the fragmented parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, threatened to disband the legislature.
A draft of the law on provincial elections had initially said voting would start Oct. 1. The last time Iraqis voted for local officials was January 2005, when nationwide elections ushered in representational government across Iraq for the first time in modern history.