The Iraqi presidential council on Tuesday postponed the parliamentary elections by seven weeks and set March 6 as the date for the vote. Iraq was able to set the election date only after parliament passed a new law on balloting guidelines during an emergency session convened just before a midnight deadline Sunday.
The council's March 6 election date is a week later than what election officials initially recommended, said Faraj al-Haidari, the head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission. "We needed more time to organize voting abroad and time to complete preparations for the elections in general," al-Haidari said, according to the AP.
The commission requested the Jan. 16 elections be postponed after the law was vetoed by Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi. On Monday, the electoral commission recommended a 45-day delay in the vote that would have pushed it to the end of February. Al-Haidari, however, stated the council decided to delay the elections a bit longer because of a series of religious holidays that could interfere with the planning.