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Iraqi VP vetoes new election law

Tareq-al-Hashimi

Iraq’s Sunni Arab Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi has vetoed part of an election law over its failure to allocate any seats to Iraqis living abroad.

Al-Hashimi said he objected to Article One of the law approved by the parliament earlier this month because it did not give a voice to Iraqis living outside the country.

“On November 15, I sent a letter to parliament asking for the law to be amended. Parliament said I could veto the contested first article (of the law), which is what I have done today,” AFP quoted al-Hashimi as saying.

He had given the parliament until Tuesday noon to amend the election bill and ensure greater representation for the mostly Sunni expatriates living in Jordan and Syria, throwing the January vote into question.

Parliament is now expected to reopen debate on the proposed law, which will result in a likely delay of the polling date.

In a letter to parliament on Monday, al-Hashimi said the election bill ratified a week ago did not take into consideration the estimated two million Sunnis who fled the sectarian violence in the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Any delay in the voting could derail a US plan to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, a process scheduled to ramp up following the election.

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