Iraq passes election law
The Kurds and other Iraqi blocs have finally passed the controversial election law. The Kurds are happy this time due to all the provinces enjoys equal rights in the legislative polls.
A man casts his vote during the Iraq’s provincial council elections in a polling station in Erbil, capital of the federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Following weeks of intensive debates, the Iraqi lawmakers passed the election law on Monday, November 4, 2013. The fears of not holding the legislative elections finally allayed due to the passage of the legislation.
Vice President Kudhair al-Khuzaie issued a presidential decree on November 4, setting April 30 as the date for the upcoming Iraqi legislative election.
The passage of the law was the result of many weeks of negotiation and compromise by all of Iraq's major political blocs, said the statement released by the Office of the Vice President.
Political analysts believe that the upcoming parliamentary polls are considered as a very critical test for Iraq; the worlds’ number four oil exporter last year according to OPEC. It has suffered from terrorist attacks and political deadlock since the U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq at the end of 2011.
Parliament speaker Usama al-Nujaifi told the news agencies that: "The new law was produced by consensus, which makes it fair for all.”
“We don't have any problem with this new law, and all provinces have enjoyed equal rights," al-Nujaifi said.
Voting on the law had been repeatedly delayed due to dispute between Arabs and the Kurds, who run their own region.
U.S. President Barak Obama asked Premier Nouri al-Maliki during a visit to Washington a few weeks ago to pass the legislation and hold free and fair polls next year.
The United States welcomed the passage of legislation by the Council of Representatives (COR) to govern Iraq's polls, Vice President Joe Biden said on Monday night.
Biden stated that the passage of legislation shows Iraq's leaders are committed to compromise and progress.
"I applaud the leadership of Prime Minister Maliki, Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani and COR Speaker Nujaifi in achieving this result," Biden stated.
"Upcoming elections give the Iraqi people an opportunity to choose the direction of their country, and the compromises reached today demonstrate the strength of Iraq's democratic institutions, even in the face of terrorism that seeks to heighten sectarian tension and provoke broader conflict."
The United States remains committed to enhancing bilateral relations across all areas covered by the Strategic Framework Agreement, including efforts to "support and strengthen Iraq's democracy and its democratic institutions as defined and established in the Iraqi Constitution," Biden said.
"Iraq today reminded the world that its leaders are determined to find areas of compromise and move their country forward," he said.