A draft law paving the way for provincial elections has been denounced by Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani (photo, from bbc.co.uk), after being adopted by MPs, despite a walkout by the Kurdish bloc.
The president, who is himself Kurd, says he is confident that it will not be approved by the three-member presidential council, that he chairs.
The law has been approved by only 127 out of 275 MP’s. President Talabani said he could not agree and wanted it reconsidered.
Though elections were scheduled for 1 October, they are now likely to be delayed.
It would be a blow to the outgoing US administration of president George W. Bush. It sees the elections as a key step to national reconciliation between Iraq’s divided communities.
The vote has been boycotted by some Shia MPs and the parliament’s 54-member Kurdish bloc.
The latter opposed the bill because of objections to clauses about the oil-rich Kirkuk province, claimed by both Arabs and Kurds.
Objections have been raised by some MPs about the vote being secret, in violation of parliamentary bylaws.
The presidency council, the president and a Shia and a Sunni vice-president has the power to veto parliamentary legislation.