Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Parliament’s session adjourned without approving elections law

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
Tuesday , 09 /09 /2008

BAGHDAD, Sept. 9 (VOI) – MP from the Kurdistan Islamic Union said on Tuesday that the Parliament’s session was adjourned without approving the provincial council elections law, while Parliament’s speaker decided to hold a meeting for the heads of the parliamentary bloc for this purpose on Wednesday.
“The session was adjourned without approving the provincial council elections law and a meeting will be held tomorrow within this context among all heads of the parliamentary blocs at 11:00 a.m.,” Sami al-Atroushi told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI).
The Iraqi government relies on the provincial council elections, which were scheduled to be held on October 1, 2008, to curb violence in the war-scarred country by including a number of armed groups in the Iraqi political process.
On July 22, the Iraqi Parliament, with the approval of 127 deputies out of 140 who attended the session, passed the law on provincial council elections, which includes an article postponing the elections in the city of Kirkuk.
Lawmakers from the Kurdistan Coalition (KC) had withdrawn from the session in protest against Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani's decision to have a secret balloting over article 24 of the law, pertaining to the status of Kirkuk. Balloting over all the other paragraphs of the law, however, was open.
The Presidential Board, with the unanimity of President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies Adel Abdelmahdi and Tareq al-Hashimi, rejected the law in a rapid reaction one day after the Iraqi Parliament passed it during a session that raised hue and cry over its constitutionality.
The law drew angry reactions from the Kurds, who considered the way the law was passed as a "twisting of the constitution," threatening to use the right of veto, granted by the Iraqi constitution for the Presidential Board, headed by President Talabani, a Kurd, to reject the law and return it to the Parliament for debate.
The law on provincial council elections, which is seen as supplementary to the law on regions and non-regional provinces, which was approved by the Parliament in February, has sparked heated controversy among political blocs.
The law specifies the system of government in Iraq, and if applied, a federal system may be established in the country with three separate regions, a call echoed by some Iraqi political parties.
The draft law on provincial council elections proposes an open slate system, which gives voters influence on the position of the candidates placed on the party list and allows an individual voting system.

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