Baghdad: The Iraqi Parliament again put off a vote on a key electoral bill on Thursday after failing to reach a quorum when a compromise version was presented, raising the prospect of January polls being delayed.
The stalemate comes despite intense lobbying from both the United Nations and the United States, as well as pressure from religious leaders and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
"A boycott by Kurdish MPs today is the main reason there was no vote in Parliament," said Fawzi Akram, a lawmaker in the bloc loyal to radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Another MP, speaking on condition of anonymity, added that "insufficient MPs were present. There were only 100 MPs, and the quorum is 138."
Parliament speaker Iyad al-Samarrai told reporters "consultations will continue, and there will be another meeting of parliament on Saturday," without specifying whether MPs would vote on the bill.
The key stumbling block to enacting a law has been the status of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, an ethnically mixed northern region along the border with the autonomous region of Kurdistan.
Kirkuk`s majority Kurds have long demanded incorporation into Kurdistan, but that has met fierce opposition from the province`s Arabs and Turkmen.