Just one day after President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed on a “compromise” election law, Iraq’s parliament discussed it and quickly fell into deadlock, effectively ending hope of a quick end to the dispute.
Parliament has been struggling with this law for over a month now, and is nearly two weeks past the formal deadline for passing a new law to government the January elections.
The consequences of delaying the vote would be serious, with Shi’ite religious leaders warning of chaos if this happens. At the same time, the Shi’ite clergy is the driving force behind the push for the new law, which would allow direct election of candidates instead of voting for largely anonymous blocs.
And while the US insists their pullout strategy is “on track,” the reality is the Obama Administration has removed only a handful of troops so far and has been dangling the promise of a big cut after a “successful” election as its way to meet the August 2010 promise. If the election is delayed for any significant time this is bound to eat into that strategy, such as it is.
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