9 Nov 2009

Iraq electoral reform law passed

11:52 am on 9 November 2009

After weeks of deadlock, the Iraqi parliament has approved a crucial election law ahead of national polls due in January 2010.

The electoral reform law - which has to be in place at least 90 days before voting - was approved by 141 of 196 lawmakers present.

The emotional session was broadcast live on national television, the BBC reports.

The country's factions were deadlocked on a range of issues, including the distribution of seats in the ethnically divided, oil-rich city of Kirkuk and how candidates are to be listed on ballot papers.

It was not immediately clear whether the elections would go forward on the scheduled date of 16 January.

The MPs decided on Sunday that in Kirkuk - and other provinces where there is dispute over electoral rolls because of the ethnic mix of the area - the results would be provisional.

They also decided that electoral lists printed on ballot papers would include names of politicians standing for office rather than showing only anonymous party blocks.

The UN had warned it could not guarantee to endorse the poll if the reform bill was not passed.