Special Iraqi Committee Hands Down Reform Options

Oct. 29, 2009, midnight

According to the Iraqi newspaper Al Sabah, National Assembly members will vote presently on two proposed election laws, either of which would mandate January legislative elections under open-list proportional representation. Either moreover would expand the Council of Representatives from 275 to 311 members. The difference between the proposals concerns voting arrangements in Kirkuk governorate, where ethnic Kurds fear the choice's implications for their representation in government. Assembly members last summer and several times this month delayed reforming Iraq's electoral law. Most analysts have intepreted this as the expression of lawmakers' quiet desire to retain the closed-list system under which they were elected in 2005. Last week, lawmakers referred the issue to a para-constitutional, multi-party Political Council on National Security, which today handed down the two options. Whichever receives the most votes will become binding.

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