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Baghdad suicide bombers target justice ministry amidst election law crisis

[JURIST] Twin suicide bombings in Baghdad Sunday targeted the ministry of justice and the headquarters of the local provincial government ahead of an attempt this week by the Iraqi parliament [official website] to resolve a political stalemate that would permit changes to the country's election law. The blasts destroyed the front of the ministry building and killed at least 132 people [Al Jazeera report], with more bodies expected to be found. The elections, which are planned for January, cannot be held until a new election law is passed, and parliament continues to disagree about the exact changes to be made to the law, which was originally passed in September 2008. The attacks are currently being blamed [Telegraph report] on al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party.

The Iraqi parliament's last attempt to change the election law [JURIST report] took place earlier this week. Disputes over voting procedures in Kirkuk [JURIST news archive] have caused amendment attempts to fail repeatedly. Kirkuk is inhabited by Arabs, Turkmen, and Kurds, and has been a point of contention between the ethnic groups. Kirkuk also consistently produces nearly one million barrels of oil per day, accounting for almost half of Iraqi exports. Although parliament was eventually able to pass the previous election law in September 2008, it failed to come to an agreement [JURIST report] before the summer recess which began in August of that year.

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