Iraqi parliament approves new election law, deadlock over PM remains

An Iraqi student shouts slogans during ongoing anti-government protests, in Basra, Iraq, December 24, 2019. (Reuters)
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Updated 24 December 2019

Iraqi parliament approves new election law, deadlock over PM remains

  • Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1 and protesters, most of them young, are demanding an overhaul of a political system
  • The new election law passed by parliament will allow voters to elect individual lawmakers

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s parliament approved on Tuesday a new electoral law, a key demand of protesters to make elections fairer, but political deadlock is still holding up the selection of an interim prime minister.
Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1 and protesters, most of them young, are demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and keeping most Iraqis in poverty. More than 450 people have been killed.
“In the name of Iraq, and in the name of the Iraqi people, in the name of the martyrs, in the name of all those who sacrificed, in the name of the displaced, the law has been approved,” Council of Representatives Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi said after the vote.
The new election law passed by parliament will allow voters to elect individual lawmakers instead of choosing from party lists, and have each member of parliament represent a specific electoral district instead of groups of legislators representing entire provinces.
Protesters have demanded not just a new electoral law, but also the removal of the entire political class and an independent prime minister with no party affiliation.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned last month under pressure from the street demonstrations, but has remained in office in a caretaker capacity. The constitutional deadline to name a replacement expired on Thursday.


Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

Updated 01 December 2020

Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

  • The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire
  • Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed

ANKARA: Turkey and Russia have agreed to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region from a joint peacekeeping center, Ankara’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire signed this month between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed, the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that it would begin work “as soon as possible.”
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan and has fervently defended its right to take back the Nagorno-Karabakh lands Baku lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.
The truce deal ended more than six weeks of fighting that claimed more than 1,400 lives and saw ethnic Armenians agree to withdraw from large parts of the contested region of Azerbaijan.
The Turkish parliament voted this month to deploy a mission to “establish a joint center with Russia and to carry out the center’s activities.”
The deployment is set to last a year and its size will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russia has said repeatedly that Turkey will have no troops on the ground under the truce deal’s terms.