23 Dec 2008

Troop vote postponed in Iraq

12:27 pm on 23 December 2008

A vote in the Iraqi parliament on a resolution that would allow non-US forces to remain there after the end of the year has been postponed.

Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani called for the delay after some MPs demanded his resignation over a separate matter.

Failure to resolve the issue before the troops' current UN mandate runs out on 31 December would mean they had no legal basis to stay in Iraq.

The BBC reports Parliament may reconvene to vote on the issue on Tuesday.

On Saturday, MPs rejected a bill which would have given the 6,000 non-US troops that legal basis.

A compromise was reached to vote on a resolution - which requires only a simple majority of MPs to be passed. But the session of parliament was postponed amid the row over the speaker.

Associated Press reports Shia and Kurdish lawmakers want him to resign after he failed to control a shouting match over a journalist who threw his shoes at President George Bush.

Iraq's governing parties had been optimistic that the resolution would be passed.

The United States has already struck a separate security pact to keep troops in Iraq to 2011.