Though officials expressed guarded optimism that they still might be able to pass a new election law on Sunday, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) says that it will be too late to salvage the constitutionally mandated January vote.
“We have already stopped all our work,” noted IHEC head Faraj al-Haydari, adding that it would be virtually impossible to hold a vote in January even if lawmakers resolve all of their differences, which itself seems unlikely. The next vote is scheduled to take place Sunday.
Two major obstacles will have to be overcome by the next version of the election law. Kurdish leaders have threatened a boycott if the Kurdish north isn’t given larger representation, and Iraq’s Sunni vice president vetoed the current law over refugee representation.
The Iraq election is seen as a key milestone on the way to a prospective US drawdown. Officials have said they expected to start removing forces 60 days after the election, assuming it is successful. At this point however, it is unclear when the election will even take place, let alone how credible it will be.