Iraqi Election issues ironed out
Iraqi Elections in 2010 haven’t gotten much coverage on this blog but they have been covered fairly extensively elsewhere. The problems have been mostly sectarian in nature and dealing with perceived fairness in election law in preparation for a crucial poll that needs to be held next year, as per the constitution. While it doesn’t look like the poll will now go ahead in the month of January as it was supposed, February and March are being mooted as more likely months for it to happen.
The important thing is that it actually is happening, and I’m sure Obama is breathing a sigh of relief somewhere in the Oval Office at this one. Iraqi stability is important considering combat operations there are due to end next year and a successful run for the poll is a key precursor to the withdrawal of US troops.
The deadlock has been over representation for Sunnis, and also partly over the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk (disputed by Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Turkmen). Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi threatened to veto the proposed changes to the electoral law but reportedly agreed at the last minute and the vote was passed unanimously. The law will reportedly expand parliament from 275 seats to 325 seats, 310 of which will be allotted to Iraq’s 18 provinces, with the remainder reserved for religious minorities and blocs that garnered national support but did not win seats. [Al Jazeera]
Pretty much everyone is predicting a rise in attacks from insurgents in the lead-up to the election and the tabled US withdrawal, the world will be watching Iraq next year with greatly renewed interest to see if the US occupation and ‘nation-building’ can in any way be vindicated. You can expect to see more Iraq-related coverage and opinion on this here blog also.