Iraq VP calls for refugee seats in vote

The refugees fled 2003 US occupation.

Iraq VP calls for refugee seats in vote

Iraq's vice president on Sunday called for seats in parliament that are allocated to Iraqi refugees over the January election.

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi told parliament the law had to be altered to give a voice to Iraqis abroad.

The refugees fled 2003 US occupation.

"Unfortunately this law did not give fair treatment to the large numbers of Iraqi refugees outside Iraq, who were forced to leave their country for reasons beyond their control," Hashemi said in a letter to parliament, adding that he would use his veto power unless the changes were incorporated.

Iraq will hold a general election in January.

The electoral authorities need time to prepare for the ballot, expected to take place between Jan. 18-23.

The electoral law does not give any representation to the as many as two million Iraqi refugees it is estimated are forced to live abroad.

Hashemi, one of Shi'ite Muslim-run Iraq's two vice presidents and a member of a presidential council that has a veto power over legislation, said the electoral law should be changed to include refugees.

The percentage of seats allocated for the displaced, minorities and refugees should be raised to 15 percent, he said.

"This law is sick and tomorrow it will be returned to the hands of its creators (parliament), either to give it the necessary treatment or subject it to surgery," Hashemi said, refusing to approve the law in its current state.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Kasım 2009, 18:15