Iraqi Parliament Passes Amended Election Law

Law Likely Faces Second Veto After Failure to Address Hashemi's Complaints

In a last ditch effort to hold elections in January as required by the Iraqi constitution, Iraq’s parliament today passed an amended election law following a weekend of intense behind-the-scenes deal making.

The new bill expands the number of seats in parliament by 45, and changes the census used to distribute seats to an earlier version more favorable to the nation’s Kurdish population, which had threatened a boycott.

Yet it appeared to make no effort to address the concerns of the nation’s Sunni minority, and still gives no representation to the millions of (mostly Sunni) refugees who have still been unable to return to Iraq.

In fact, dozens of Sunni MPs walked out during the pre-vote deal making, complaining that they were being kept on the outside of the process. It is considered almost certain that Vice President Hashemi will veto this draft as he did the last one.

But assuming the deal sufficiently placated the nation’s Kurds, the veto may not matter. Parliament could override the Sunni VP’s veto with a 3/5th majority and is almost certain to try to do exactly that. The Sunnis, it seems, will become an increasingly irrelevant opposition in parliament.

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.