And I don’t use the word “key” lightly. Elections are the lifeblood of any democracy, and this piece of legislation was a big stumbling block to real progress.
BAGHDAD, March 19 — Iraq’s three-member presidential council on Wednesday approved legislation that sets a time frame for provincial elections, a development that Iraqi lawmakers called an important step toward reconciling rival factions in the divided government.
The decision came two days after Vice President Cheney came to Baghdad urging Iraqi leaders to make more progress on political reconciliation. The council passed the measure after Adel Abdul Mahdi, one of Iraq’s two vice presidents, withdrew his opposition. Under the legislation, Iraq would hold provincial elections by Oct. 1.
The law attempts to address concerns of Iraqis in predominantly Sunni provinces who feel they have been denied fair representation under the current group of local leaders. Kurdish areas, which have been governed largely independently, are excluded from the legislation’s provisions.
In a statement, the presidential council said the measure would buttress Iraq’s political system by extending power through federalism.
Kudos to Cheney if he played a role in getting this thing passed. Perhaps he threatened to shoot some people in the face?