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Iraqi lawmakers feud over federalism bill

[JURIST] Iraq's parliament [official website] adjourned abruptly Thursday following a heated debate about a draft law that would divide the country into autonomous regions. Sunnis oppose the plan because it would leave them without access to Iraq's oil as most Sunnis live in the central and western provinces of the country where oil resources are limited. Still, Shiite lawmakers, who proposed the draft plan [JURIST report] earlier this week, insisted on discussing the matter, which was not on Thursday's agenda. This infuriated Sunni leaders, who already share a tense relationship [BBC backgrounder] with Shiites. One Sunni bloc, the National Dialogue Front, threatened to withdraw from parliament [VOI report] if it adopted the bill.

Most members of parliament later agreed to delay a first reading [VOI report] of the proposal until Sunday. Many Iraqi leaders say they would like to amend the Iraq's constitution [JURIST news archive] before passing any new laws. Reuters has more.

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