Apportionment Disputes Scuttle Election Law

Nov. 18, 2009, midnight

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-HASHIMI on Wednesday vetoed an amendment to the country's electoral law, possibly delaying January's national elections. Lawmakers agreed to the amendment bill on November 8 after months of debate. Under the constitution, each of three members of a Transitional Presidency Council must assent to legislation. This body is elected by Iraq's Council of Representatives. HASHIMI, a Sunni Arab, said the law did not reserve enough seats for Iraqis abroad. While the exact number of Sunni Arabs in this population is not known, some estimates show that they predominate. Earlier this week, Kurdish bloc politicians threatened to boycott the elections, claiming the numbers of seats allocated to their governorates were unrepresentative. According to the constitution available from the Independent High Electoral Commission, the Council's term is four years, and elections must occur 45 days before a term expires.

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