Iraq sets parliamentary elections on March 7

19:03, December 09, 2009      

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Iraq's presidency council has again delayed the parliamentary elections, setting March 7 as the new date for the nationwide vote, an official said on Wednesday.

"The presidency council and the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) have agreed that the coming legislative elections will be on March 7 next year," Naseer al-Ani, President Jalal Talabani's chief of staff, said in a statement.

He said the latest decision came after a meeting at Talabani's residency late Tuesday which included Talabani and two vice presidents, Adel Abdul Mahdi and Tariq al-Hashimi, along with Faraj al-Haidari, head of the IHEC.

Al-Ani did not give the reason behind the latest pushback, but he said no political reasons were behind the delay.

On Tuesday, the presidency council announced that the elections will be held on March 6.

Al-Ani's announcement came three days after the Iraqi lawmakers agreed on the amendments to an electoral law that would govern the war-torn country's elections.

The elections were originally slated for Jan. 16.

Iraqi lawmakers have been struggling for months to pass the law needed to reform the election process, in a bid to make it more representative of Iraq's ethnic and religious groups.

The decision also came as Baghdad was hit by a new wave of violence that claimed the lives of some 127 people and wounded 448others.

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