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January elections in Iraq in jeopardy

Oct. 30, 2008 at 5:23 PM

BAGHDAD, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Provincial elections in Iraq face further delays if the Parliament does not amend portions of the election law before Nov. 5, election officials said Thursday.

The Iraqi Parliament in September passed a version of the long-awaited provincial elections law, paving the way for a vote in January. The measure did not include earlier provisions allocating a set number of seats to Christians and other minority religions.

The Iraqi Independent High Electoral High Commissions Thursday said, following a meeting with officials from the U.N. Assistance Mission to Iraq, that lawmakers needed to address the articles for minority representation before Wednesday, Voices of Iraq reported.

Lawmakers had set a Jan. 31 date for elections in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces. Elections were postponed in the three Kurdish provinces, however, while negotiations continued over whether the oil-rich province of Kirkuk should be part of Iraqi Kurdistan or greater Iraq.

Muhsin al-Saadon with the Kurdistan Alliance said lawmakers had completed a draft version of the provincial elections law and will vote on the matter in Monday's session.

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