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Elections might be delayed, Iraq says

BAGHDAD, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- It may be better to postpone parliamentary elections in Iraq in order to reach a consensus decision on the national election law, Iraqi lawmakers said.

Iraq lawmakers met during the weekend to discuss amendments to a 2005 election law. Parliament has been unable to agree on the nature of the balloting or reach a deal on how to conduct elections in the disputed city of Kirkuk.

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Mohammad Salman, a lawmaker with the Sunni National Dialogue Council, said Parliament was considering three separate options for elections scheduled tentatively for Jan. 16.

One option would be to put the matter to an open vote, he said, while a second option would leave the 2005 measure as it stands, the Voices of Iraq news agency reports. The 2005 law mandates a closed ballot.

A third option would be to postpone the elections for at least one legislative term to give lawmakers the chance to vet all of their concerns.

"The third option is the most likely route," he said.

That option was met with backlash from more than 70 representatives of the Kurdistan Alliance who voiced their displeasure with a possible delay.

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Wrangling in the Iraqi Parliament threatens to derail the Jan. 16 date for parliamentary elections in Iraq. The constitution requires lawmakers to approve an election law 90 days before the scheduled vote.

U.S. military leaders said any delays in the January election could affect a requirement for U.S. combat forces to leave Iraq by August.

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