U.S. top officials in Iraq urge Iraqis to pass electoral law
www.chinaview.cn 2009-10-29 22:39:40   Print

    BAGHDAD, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Top U.S. officials in Iraq Thursday urged Iraqi authorities to pass a new law for the country's January elections, as Iraqi lawmakers are struggling to hammer out a compromise on voting in the disputed oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

    In a joint statement by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill and General Ray Odierno, top U.S. military commander in Iraq, the two leaders expressed their view that the electoral law's "rules, procedures and decisions adopted for the January elections should apply only to that election (January 16 elections)."

    The American leaders apparently are trying to find a way out for the deadlock of the Iraqi leaders and lawmakers who fail so far to hammer out a consensus on a law to cover parliamentary elections.

    Iraqi and U.S. authorities fear that the deadlock over Kirkuk is likely to delay the national elections and hamper the political process in the war-torn country.

    The two U.S. leaders suggested in their statement that the rules of the electoral law "should not serve as precedents for future elections or for future political settlements related to article 140, demographic change, disputed boundaries, or other contested issues."

    Article 140 of Iraq's 2005 constitution calls for several steps to address the dispute over Kirkuk, the ethnically-mixed of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, including a referendum.

    Arabs and Turkmen favor a plan that the electoral law should use the 2004 voter registry as they accuse the Kurds carrying out demographic change in the oil-rich province after 2003, while the Kurds refuse the plan accusing Saddam Hussein's regime of displacing thousands of Kurds who were replaced with Arabs to make Kirkuk a predominantly Arab province.

    On Thursday, the Iraqi parliamentary legal committee again failed to reach a compromise over Kirkuk issue, and decided to delay Thursday's parliament session to Sunday, an official in the parliament told Xinhua. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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