Iraqi lawmaker opposes election law

BAGHDAD, Sept. 30 (UPI) — An independent Iraqi lawmaker Tuesday called for a veto of the provincial elections law, citing a failure to include a quota for minority representation.
After months of wrangling, the Iraqi Parliament Wednesday passed a version of the provincial elections law, paving the way for another round of elections in January. Though the law allocated a 25 percent quota for women, it did not contain provisions from earlier drafts for religious minorities.

An earlier version passed July 22 but was later revoked by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd. The Sept. 24 measure requires approval of a three-member presidential council before taking effect.

Safiyaa al-Suheil, an independent, said the current measure was a “real catastrophe” for democratic progress in Iraq, saying the presidential council should veto the measure submitted by lawmakers, Voices of Iraq said.

“Out of national responsibility, we urge the presidency to revoke the law on provincial council elections and to return it to the Parliament to handle minorities’ rights and to come up with an integrated law that ensures everyone’s rights,” she said in a statement.

Iraqi Christians took to the streets in the north of the country during the weekend in protest of the measure.