Iraq's parliament OKs crucial provincial elections law
Iraq's parliament approved a provincial elections law on Wednesday after months of debates between Arabs and Kurds over power-sharing issues in the province that includes the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The lawmakers have now called for the vote to be held before Jan. 31 next year.
The law now goes to Iraq's three-member presidency council, led by President Jalal Talabani, for final approval. Talabani rejected an earlier version that was approved by legislators in July and sent it back to parliament.
Kurdish, Shiite, Sunni and Turkomen legislators agreed to form a parliamentary committee to review disputes regarding Kirkuk and present a report by March 2009.
According to Reuters, Salim al-Jubouri, a senior parliamentarian from the Sunni Arab Accordance Front, said the law had been passed unanimously with Kurds and Arabs in attendance. All sides had made concessions on Kirkuk, he noted, adding there would be a separate law for dealing with elections in Kirkuk as well as a power-sharing formula for the city administration.