Iraq: Vote on election bill delayed

Published October 21st, 2009 - 06:56 GMT

Iraqi MPs failed on Wednesday to agree a new electoral law meant to create more transparency for elections due in January because of a stalemate over Kirkuk. The "opinion of some political parties became more intransigent, and this made an agreement impossible," said parliament speaker Iyad al-Samarrai, adding that lawmakers would vote on the bill on Monday.


"The subject became bigger than the parliament and there was no way to negotiate."


According to AFP, the delay is the result of a failure in the negotiations relating to oil-rich city of Kirkuk.


Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution calls for a referendum to decide Kirkuk's fate but it has been put off at the recommendation of the United Nations. On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama called on Iraq's parliament to end delays and OK the bill. On Wednesday, UN special envoy to Iraq Ad Melkert also urged MPs to approve the bill, saying further delays risked undermining the credibility of the election.


"Time is critical, and further delays in ratifying the amendment clarifications and the legal framework can adversely affect both the current electoral timeline, and ultimately the credibility of the electoral process," he said in a statement. 

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