Iraq Halts Preparations for Jan. Election

Fate of vote, US withdrawal in question as VP vetoes law
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2009 7:00 AM CST
In this , Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006 file photo, Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, gestures as he speaks to the press.   (AP Photo/Ali Al-Saadi, Pool)
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(Newser) – In a move that could derail both Iraq's fragile democracy and US plans to withdraw troops by next summer, all preparations for elections in January have ground to a halt. The Iraqi election committee stopped "all our activities and work" today after the country's vice president vetoed part of a new election law, Reuters reports.

Tariq al-Hashemi vetoed the law because he wanted more seats allocated for Iraqis living abroad, most of whom are Sunni Arabs like him, MSNBC reports. US and Iraqi leaders were greatly relieved when the election legislation passed on Nov. 8 after weeks of haggling—relief that has turned to concern as the election committee awaits a presidential decree to determine the exact date of the election.