A long-sought political consensus in Iraq over how to conduct crucial upcoming elections fell apart Tuesday over the thorny issue of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, an Iraqi lawmaker said Tuesday.
Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker, told The Associated Press an agreement by the nation's leaders the night before over an emergency proposal to break the deadlock had fallen apart over who will control the fractious northern city split between Arabs and Kurds.
Othman said the vote over the election law would not take place Tuesday.
The proposal was agreed upon last night by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and others as the capital was reeling from the worst bombing incident in two years the day before that killed 155 people.
The bombing galvanized Iraq's Shiite-dominated government to make a push to smooth over differences in the divided government and wrap up the electoral law so that the contests could proceed on time in January.
With Iraq's public already angry over the bombing and the resurgence of violence, the politicians appeared to not want to risk further angering people by delaying the elections with their internal wrangling.
Observers, including the U.S., worry that failure to agree on the guidelines would delay the crucial vote and allow violence to spiral out of control once more in Iraq.
In oil-rich Kirkuk, which is claimed by Kurds, Arabs and Turkomens, the dispute focuses on whether all the people living there should be allowed to vote in the election.
During the Saddam era, tens of thousands of Kurds were displaced under a forced plan to make Kirkuk predominantly Arab. Since the 2003 invasion, many of these Kurds have returned, and other groups now claim there are more of them than before _ which could sway the vote in their favor and bring Kirkuk and its oil fully under Kurdish control.
Proposals to solve the problem have included assigning the province's seats to the three groups ahead of time and dividing it into ethnic constituencies. Kurds have rejected these plans as unconstitutional.