Iraq`s January vote placed in doubt by presidency

Last Updated: Monday, November 16, 2009 - 20:31

Sulaimaniyah: Iraq`s general election
in January was thrown into doubt on Monday when the war-torn
country`s presidential council demanded more clout be given to
minorities and nationals living abroad.

President Jalal Talabani told a news agency he wanted parliament to
change the electoral law governing the vote so that the number
of seats set aside for minorities, including Christians, and
Iraqi expatriates would be tripled.

"The presidential council asked the parliament to
increase the percentage of seats for minorities and Iraqis
living abroad from five to 15 percent," he said before
leaving Iraqi Kurdistan for a state visit to France.

The Sunni vice president Tareq al-Hashemi, part of the
three-member council, went further and demanded on state
television that the law be changed or he would use his power
to veto the vote.

"If the parliament does not correct the rate of
representatives (of minorities) I will adopt my veto of the
law," Hashemi said.

The current terms of the electoral law guarantee eight
seats for Iraq`s minorities and eight so-called compensatory
seats, which are allocated between citizens living abroad and
smaller parties seeking national representation.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, November 16, 2009 - 20:31

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