Kurdish lawmakers protest draft election bill by walking out of Iraq parliament

Kurdish lawmakers protest draft election bill by walking out of Iraq parliament

[JURIST] Kurdish legislators staged a walkout of the Iraqi Parliament [official website] Tuesday, delaying a vote on a proposed provincial election bill that they say is unconstitutional. Kurdish lawmakers objected to an attached proposal that would establish a provincial council in Kirkuk [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] to include equal numbers of Kurdish, Arabs and Turkmeni representatives. Kurds, who constitute the majority in the area, argue that this arrangement does not reflect the region's true population. The parliament will reconvene to discuss the bill again on Thursday, but Kurdish legislators have threatened to boycott that session unless the council proposal is dropped. The New York Times has more. AP has additional coverage.

In February, Iraq's Presidency Council rejected a draft provincial elections law [JURIST report] that detailed the relationship between Iraq's central and local governments, sending the legislation back to parliament. The draft law was part of a package of legislation approved [JURIST report] by the parliament earlier that month that also included the 2008 budget and an amnesty bill [JURIST report] that will lead to the release of roughly 5,000 prisoners. In March, the Presidency Council withdrew its objections [JURIST report], indicating that the law could now take effect without any changes.