Iraqi parliament agrees on provincial councils’ makeup

November 3rd, 2008 - 11:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Nov 3 (DPA) Iraq’s parliament approved a measure Monday that regulates the makeup of provincial councils, spurring complaints from Christian groups, which say the new system leaves them underrepresented.Lawmaker Mohammed al-Khazaali said the agreement would mean one guaranteed Christian seat on the Basra council, one seat each for Christians and Mandaean Sabians on the Baghdad council and one seat apiece for Christians, Yazidis and Shabaks on the Nineveh council.

The measure was approved by 106 of 150 attending parliamentarians. It replaces existing legislation which divided council representation by a proportional quota system.

Christian groups, which had been guaranteed seven seats under the old system in elections held five years ago, expressed disappointment.

“The parliament should realize the importance of giving Christians their rights because they are an effective component in the country,” Dyaa Boutros, secretary general of the National Chaldeo-Assyrian Council, told the Voices of Iraq news agency.

Christians also received support from Kurdish members of parliament, who said the decision will deprive Christians of suitable representation.

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