Iraqi lawmakers on Wednesday failed to agree on a provincial election law, casting doubt on whether U.S.-backed balloting can be held in the country's 18 provinces this year. The lawmakers failed to break a deadlock over Kurdish opposition to a power-sharing formula for the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk despite days of intense contacts and heavy pressure from U.S. and U.N. officials.
Officials involved in preparations for the elections have said a delay would likely push voting to next year. According to the AP, deputy parliamentary speaker Khalid al-Attiyah, however, insisted the provincial elections could be held this year as long as the legislation is passed in September.
Parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said the lawmakers will resume sessions on Sept. 9. Meanwhile, he said, a committee will continue to work on the provincial elections law.
The legislature also adopted a supplementary budget of $21 billion. Adoption of the elections law had been linked with the budget proposal. On his part, Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr has said passage of the supplemental budget would raise the overall budget to some $70 billion this year and is needed for food rations, fuel for power plants and raises for civil servants.