Iraq National Election Looks Unlikely For January

11.24.09 | FL News Team

Iraq's January national election appears to have been scuttled, throwing its fragile democracy into disarray. The election had been slated for between January 18th through the 23rd but that doesn't seem likely now, says a polling official. The reason is a veto of a polling law by Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who objected because it shut out Iraqi refugees living abroad. Hashemi is a Sunni Muslim, and hundreds of thousands of Sunnis have fled the country's sectarian violence.

 A testy parliamentary debate yesterday didn't help matters as the majority Shiites and minority Kurds teamed up to weaken Sunni representation at the polls. Sunni Muslim lawmakers walked out of the session with at least one calling for demonstrations against the amended election laws. They won't meet again until December 8th, too late under Iraq's constitution to revive the general election for January. A collapse of Iraq's democracy could set back U.S. plans to end combat operations by the end of August and withdraw completely by 2012.