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Middle east

Parliament speaker says delayed election likely to be held in March

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-28

The head of Iraq's parliament, Iyad al-Samarrai, announced on Friday that a general election would most likely be held in March. Failure to pass an electoral law means the poll cannot be held by January as required by the country's constitution.

AFP - Iraq's faltering election will likely be held in March, the speaker of the nation's parliament said on Friday, the latest date yet mooted by a senior official.

Iyad al-Samarrai's remarks come as politicians continued to seek a breakthrough over a stalled electoral law, without which an election cannot be held.

"The (election) commission announced it would be held on January 16th, this is not possible anymore because there is no law," Samarrai told the state-funded Al-Iraqiya television channel.

"I believe that the election will be held in March."

While officials have acknowledged that the January election date has become untenable because of delays to the election law, no one has yet mentioned a date as late as March.

Iraq's constitution requires that the poll be held by January 31.

The United States has put pressure on Iraqi politicians to avoid a delay as Washington seeks to ensure that the pullout of thousands of troops stationed in the country goes ahead on schedule.

Though lawmakers approved a law regarding the election earlier this month, it was vetoed by Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.

This week, MPs passed an amended version and it is currently before Iraq's three-member presidential council, composed of President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and vice presidents Hashemi, a Sunni, and Adel Abdel Mehdi, a Shiite.

Only one of them needs to veto the bill for it to be sent back to parliament.

If a second veto is used, parliament can overturn it with a 60 percent majority. An alliance of Shiite and Kurdish MPs would surpass that threshold with around 30 votes to spare in the 275-seat assembly.

Date created : 2009-11-28

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