Following through on the threat he made earlier this week, Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi announced today that he has vetoed key portions of Iraq’s controversial election law, and referred them back to parliament for changes.
Though it is unclear as of yet what parliament intends to do about the veto, Iraq’s election commission says it has stopped all preparation activities related to January’s vote until the law is sorted out. They say more delays are virtually assured.
Originally scheduled for January 15, officials had tentatively put the date at somewhere between January 18 and 21 after parliament missed the deadline for passing the law. Now that the law is vetoed, the constitutionally mandated January 31 deadline seems in serious peril.
If this happens, the US pullout will almost certainly be affected. American forces are supposed to conduct a formal review and begin withdrawing around 60 days after the vote, whenever it actually takes place. The administration’s current goal is to reduce the roughly 120,000 troops to around 75,000 by August.