Iraqi elections at risk – Sunni’s wary of new laws
In a move that has surprised some, the Iraqi Vice President, Tariq al-Hashemi, has used his veto to kill new election laws putting the planned January elections at risk. The concern is that the new law would limit the opportunity for many Iraqis who fled the country during the troubles to lodge their absentee vote. Of course, the vast majority of these now ex-pats are Sunni who feared reprisal for Shia militia.
The Kurds are also up in arms about the new legislation. After originally voting to support its passage, the Kurds have flip-flopped after further review. They realized belatedly that the legislation gave less representation than they thought. Under this new law, the parliament has been expanded by 48 seats, but only 3 of these are allocated to Kurdish regions. This would leave the Kurdish regions with only 38 possible seats total, which they believe leaves them severely disadvantaged. It finally appears that ‘warts and all’ democracy has arrived in Iraq complete with horse-trading, lobbying, compromises and secret deals. Welcome to a brave new world of governance!
Iraq’s vice-president has vetoed part of the country’s new election law, placing plans for holding general elections in January in jeopardy.
Tariq al-Hashemi said on Wednesday he objected to Article I of the law because it did not give a voice to Iraqis abroad, many of whom are Sunni Muslims who fled the country during sectarian fighting after the US-led invasion in 2003.
“On November 15, I sent a letter to parliament asking for the law to be amended. Parliament said I could veto the contested first article [of the law], which is what I have done today,” al-Hashemi said.
“My objection is not to the whole law, but it is about being fair to the people displaced outside of Iraq.”
Parliament must now reopen debate on the proposed law, passed earlier this morning, meaning that there could be a delay to the election.