Just two hours after Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi vetoed Iraq’s election law, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced that it was ceasing all activities pertaining to the January vote until further notice.
Hashemi’s veto formally put the kibosh on the nation’s election law, and will without question put the already delayed January vote off until an even later date. Iraq’s parliament was only able to pass the current law after weeks of delay and vote boycotts.
Hashemi was one of several top Iraqi politicians who are opposed to the current law’s division of seats. Top Kurdish leaders have demanded more seats for the Kurdish north, smaller minority groups want more set-asides for their factions, etc.
Hashemi’s gripe was unique, however, because he was one of only three people in Iraq with the power to veto the law. He had demanded that the two million plus refugees still living outside Iraq be given a measure of representation, currently they have none.
So far there is no indication from parliament when they will take the matter up again, but it is clear they will have to some time soon if the vote is to be held in anything resembling a timely fashion.