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Cablegate: Council of Representatives Passes Minority Quotas

VZCZCXRO1668
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3489 3081229
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031229Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0199
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003489

SBU
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM KIRF IZ
SUBJECT: COUNCIL OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSES MINORITY QUOTAS
FOR PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS

(U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified -- not for
distribution on the Internet.

1. (U) On November 2, the Council of Representatives (CoR)
passed an amendment to Article 50 of the Provincial Elections
Law. The amendment specifies quotas for seats in the
Provincial Councils of three provinces for several minority
groups. The vote came after lengthy committee deliberations
that delayed the opening of the CoR session by more than two
hours.

2. (SBU) Debate in the first two readings had been based on
a UN-proposed text that would have provided the following
set-asides for minorities:

Baghdad: three seats for Christians, one seat for Sabeans;
Ninewa: three seats for Christians, three seats for Yezidis,
one seat for Shabaks;
Basrah: one seat for Christians

3. (SBU) Although agreement on this proposal had earlier
been reached in committee, second-reading debate revealed a
rift between Kurds, who supported the UN text unchanged, and
Shia, who preferred fewer seats for Christians.

4. (SBU) In any event, the CoR was invited to vote on three
separate options, differing only in the number of seats set
aside for Christians in Baghdad and Ninewa (three, two or
one) and for Yezidis in Ninewa (three, two or one). The
option with one Christian and Yezidi was carried by a large
margin (more than 100 of 150 members present); the original
UN text garnered around 50 votes; and the "compromise,"
two-seat option attracted a handful of votes (a small number
of members apparently voted more than once).

5. (U) The approved option thus has the following minority
quotas:

Baghdad: one seat for Christians, one for Sabeans;
Ninewa: one seat for Christians, one seat for Yezidis, one
seat for Shabaks;
Basrah: one seat for Christians

6. (SBU) After the amendment had passed, Christian member
Yonadam Kanna rose to protest the result. He was not joined
by other members, however, who quickly filed out of the
chamber to begin a one-week recess.

7. (U) The amendment will now have to be approved by Iraq's
Presidency Council and published in the official gazette
before it becomes law.

CROCKER

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