Iraqi MPs grapple with compromise election law

BAGHDAD: Iraq's political party leaders met today to grapple with a compromise hammered out by the country's senior leaders on a key election law, amid concern that polls set for January may be delayed.

A new text, drafted a day earlier by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani, parliament speaker Iyad al-Samarrai and other leaders, was presented to party chiefs and senior lawmakers, a parliamentary official told AFP.

Iraq's various political blocs have broken away to consider the proposals, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

At issue are proposed changes to the law that would require parties to publish full lists of their candidates, in contrast to the current closed list system whereby voters see only party names.

Another major hurdle has been lack of agreement over the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, which the Kurds have long demanded be incorporated in their autonomous region in the north despite the opposition of its Arab and Turkmen communities.

Among the latest proposals, according to the official, is one by the United Nations that would see elections going ahead in Kirkuk on the same day as the rest of the country.