Iraq VP Threatens Veto of Election Law

January Vote Thrown Back Into Doubt Over Refugee Status

Those who thought Iraq’s January election was safe after parliament finally approved an election law last week need to look again, as comments from a top official have thrown the already delayed election back into doubt.

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, the top ranked Sunni elected official in Iraq, is now threatening to veto the law, demanding changes in representation for the displaced.

As it stands, the election law allocates 5 percent of parliament to religious minorities and internally displaced persons. Hashemi says this needs to be raised to 15 percent, and that the two million plus Iraqi refugees who have fled the country since the 2003 US invasion plunged the country into civil war, should be given representation as well.

The vast majority of the refugees are Sunnis, and giving them a measure of representation would go a long way toward giving Sunnis some influence over government policy, largely lost since the US installed the Shi’ite majority in power.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.