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Election Law Passed, Waiting on final approval.

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Election Law Passed, Waiting on final approval.


November 23, 2009 - 05:12:50
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The Iraqi Parliament has passed an amended version of the new election law, which was vetoed by one of the country’s two vice-presidents last week.
Tareq al-Hashemi wanted more seats given to the four million displaced Iraqis who he said had fled abroad since 2003.
The law will return to the presidential council, where lawmakers close to Hashemi said he might veto it again, potentially delaying by a month the election due in January and threatening U.S. plans for a troop drawdown next year.
The law must be approved soon to allow parliamentary polls in January.
The elections - constitutionally required by the end of that month - are seen as a prerequisite to the US meeting its goal of pulling out combat troops by August, ahead of a full withdrawal in 2011.
The amended election law includes new clauses that give Iraqis inside and outside the country equal status as voters and say the votes of refugees and exiles would be counted in their home provinces.
It also stipulates that the voter rolls will be based on food ration data from 2005, when the last election was held, increased by 2.8 percent per year since then to match estimated population growth.
But it did not increase the number of seats allocated to minorities, internally displaced and refugees to 15 percent of the total, as Hashemi had demanded when he cast his veto.
Sunni Arab parliamentarians said they opposed the use of data from 2005 because it would reduce their representation in the parliament.

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