The Iraqi parliament failed for a second time Monday to vote on an election law crucial for organizing elections in January that will choose a new parliament and serve as a milestone in American plans to withdraw combat troops from the country.
As is often the case in Iraq, deadlines come and go. But election officials face a logistical challenge ahead of the Jan. 16 vote, the first national election since 2005. They say they need the law passed now to give them roughly three months to prepare for the vote, although they could gain a week or two if the election is delayed. But after that, parliament’s term expires, throwing Iraq’s nascent political system into an unconstitutional limbo, just months before the U.S. military wants to begin withdrawing troops in earnest.
“If they don’t pass a new law, a curse is going to fall on the political parties,” warned Safia Sahhal, a secular lawmaker. “Why? Because this is what Iraqis want.” [continued…]