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Iraq government negotiations hit constitutional roadblock

[JURIST] Shiite and Kurdish negotiators say they may need another week to hammer out the shape of a new Iraqi government [AP report] as factions in Iraq's new National Assembly struggle to build a coalition that will satisfy the majority clauses contained in the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) [text], the Iraqi interim constitution agreed to last year after intense bargaining. The document requires that a super-majority of two-thirds of the lawmakers in the National Assembly agree on the membership of Iraq's powerful presidency counsel, and although only a simple majority is necessary to pass legislation, a two-thirds majority is also necessary to override any legislative veto by the council. Additionally, a three-quarters majority is required to amend the TAL itself. The United Iraqi Alliance, the winner in the January Iraqi elections [JURIST Hot Topic news archive] holds only 51% of the seats in the National Assembly, requiring the group to reach a compromise with minority parties in the appointment of Iraq's new leadership. The super-majority provisions in the TAL have been criticized as a backdoor method by which the US can continue to exert control of Iraq, but defenders of the apparatus say the system is critical to ensure consensus and compromise between multiple political groups, all of which have an important stake in the country's future. BBC News has more.

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