Iraq delays provincial polls
Iraq postponed their provincial elections that were due to be in October, today, after the MPs failed to agree to the necessary legislation in time.
This was a blow to the US as they had backed efforts to reconcile the country.
Iraq was due to go to the polls on October 1 but the long-awaited legislation that would govern the ballot has faced repeated delays over the political treatment of the disputed northern oil province of Kirkuk.
The complex issues over who will control the energy-rich province, claimed by both Arabs and Kurds, has repeatedly dogged passage of the provincial elections bill, despite US efforts to pressure Baghdad.
Thursday's decision was a major setback for Washington and the United Nations which viewed the ballot as critical to consolidating Iraq's fledgling political process and reconciling its deeply divided ethnic groups.
"We cannot hold an election in October because we need three months to prepare for the polls after the election law is passed," commission member Hamdiya al-Husseinia said.
US officials in Baghdad were not immediately available to comment.
Parliament broke for the summer yesterday without passing the bill - which called for the polls to be postponed in Kirkuk, but to go ahead in the other 17 provinces.
The elections may now take place in 2009.