Iraqi Christians Seek Seat Quota In Next Legislature

71aba771-87bc-4e39-acb2-389c9dfd945f_mw800_mh6001.jpgChristian lawmaker Yunadim Kanna meets with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
October 22, 2009
BAGHDAD — Representatives of Iraq’s Christian community are demanding that legislative-seat quotas for Christians and other minority communities should be established in the new election law, RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Lawmaker Yunadim Kanna, general secretary of the Democratic Assyrian Movement, told RFI that “a five-seat quota has been proposed for the Christian community in the draft election law, which is the same number granted under the provincial-elections law.”

He said this quota is “the bare-minimum” alternative to implementing a proportional-representation system.

Lawmaker Khalid al-Asadi, of the Shi’ite United Iraqi Alliance, told RFI that “a quota of one seat should be allocated to each minority group.” Al-Asadi added that communities that feel they should have more seats should “contest the elections just like other major communities.”

Hikmat al-Hakim, a spokesman for the Higher Committee of Roman Catholic Chaldean Organizations in Iraq, told RFI that if the five-seat proposal is rejected, “the Christian community will initiate talks with the major blocs on the possibility of joining them in return for higher representation.”

He said a coalition with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law list is possible.

On October 20, U.S. President Barack Obama urged Iraqi lawmakers to pass the new election law in time to hold elections in January.