10/08/2008, 00.00
IRAQ
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Waiting for minority quota election law given the green light

Next provincial elections on 31 January 2009 will be conducted under the new law which has been formally adopted. Presidency Council asks parliament to reintroduce Article 50 in a new vote to guarantee minorities, including Christians, a certain number of seats.
Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iraq’s Presidency Council approved the provincial election law, but also asked parliament to reinstate Article 50 which guaranteed minorities 15 seats on six provincial councils, 13 for Christians and one each for Shabaks and Yazidis.

President Jalal Talabani (a Kurd) and vice presidents Tareq al-Hashemi (A Sunni Arab) and Adel Abdul-Mahdi (a Shia Arab) have formally approved the long-awaited provincial election law, opening the way for elections on 31 January 2009, but they also told parliament to reinstate guaranteed minority seats on provincial councils.

This decision meets demands made by Christians, who have demonstrated in various parts of the country, for the reinstatement of the quotas.

Mosul, Baghdad and Kirkuk are some of the places where Christians protested, confident also of the backing of UN special representative for Iraq Staffan de Mistura who had said he was “surprised and disappointed” that Iraq’s parliament dropped Article 50, hoping that it would be “reinstated into the legislation as soon as possible”.

Naseer al-Ani, Presidency Council chief of staff, announced the unanimous approval of the election law by council members, adding that Article 50 will be submitted to parliament for a vote.

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