Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Women to get 25% quota in provincial councils

Women to get 25% quota in provincial councils

September 23, 2008

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: Women will be given a quota of no less than 25 percent in provincial councils, the chairman of the regions and provinces committee said on Tuesday.

“The issue of the presidential revocation concerning women’s quota in the provincial council elections law has been settled,” Hashim al-Taa’i told Aswat al-Iraq.

Commenting on the ongoing negotiations over paragraph IV of the law, the chairman said that the issue has not been resolved thus far.

On Sunday, the Iraqi Parliament created a formula stipulating that the local government will support a fact-finding committee in Kirkuk city, which was rejected by the Tammuz (July) 22 Grouping that demanded that the central government take over the process.

Highlighting international and regional pressures to pass the provincial council elections law, Taa’i accused unnamed bodies of attempting to hinder its passage.

“The elections law is a peaceful coup that will change the provincial councils, whose members are decision makers…,” he noted.

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Lawmakers from the Kurdistan Alliance (KA) had withdrawn from the session in protest against Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani’s decision to have a secret balloting over article 24 of the law, pertaining to the status of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 Abdelmahdi and 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, approved by parliament in February, has sparked heated controversy among political blocs.

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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