BAGHDAD, Nov. 4
Members of the State of Law bloc of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are seeking to end a ministerial quota system if it wins the January elections.
A quota system in the Iraqi government exists currently to encourage national reconciliation among various sectarian groups. Lawmakers in the State of Law slate, however, say government seats should be awarded based on the performance at the polls.
Ali al-Hilli, a ranking figure in the State of Law-allied Islamic Call Party, tells the Iraqi analytical Web site Niqash the quota system "shirks public responsibility" by awarding power to those who did win the elections.
His comments brought a wave of criticism from Kurds, independents and Shiite members of the Iraqi National Alliance who complain Maliki is trying to take greater control of the government.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that lawmakers were unable to pass amendments to a national election law during their Wednesday session.
Iraqi election officials warned that if Parliament did not pass a measure during their next session Thursday, it was unlikely national elections will take place on Jan. 16 as planned.
The United Nations, meanwhile, expressed similar sentiments, saying it would recommend delaying the election if amendments were not passed.
A delayed election could create problems for the timeline for a U.S. troop withdrawal as outlined by a bilateral agreement reached in November.
November 4, 2009