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WORLD BRIEFING : IRAQ : Sunni leader threatens to veto election law

November 16, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president threatened to veto the nation's long-awaited election law, throwing the balloting set for January into doubt, unless changes are made to reserve more parliament seats for Iraqis living abroad.

The veto threat comes a week after lawmakers passed the much-delayed legislation, paving the way for the elections. Any delay in the voting could derail U.S. troop-withdrawal plans, scheduled to ramp up after the vote.

Tariq Hashimi gave parliament until noon Tuesday to amend the election law.

"If the law is not amended by the parliament or the electoral commission by reconsidering the distribution of . . . seats, I will definitely use my constitutional right," Hashimi said on the Al Hurra television channel, referring to his veto power.

"I will not allow the passage of a law that contradicts the constitution and the principles of justice, regardless of the price to be paid," he added.

Most of the estimated 2 million Iraqis who fled the sectarian violence in their homeland are Sunni Arabs. The vast majority now live in Jordan and Syria.

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