Iraqi Forces Coalition political party boycotts parliament session on election date

The Iraqi forces coalition political party boycotted the Iraqi parliament session to vote on the date of the elections on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Iraqi Forces Coalition political party boycotts parliament session on election date

DUBAI: The Iraqi Forces Coalition political party boycotted Saturday's Iraqi parliament session which was set to vote on the date of legislative elections in the country. 
The House of Representatives started a session to vote on the date of the elections in the presence of 220 deputies. The Iraqi parliament sent a request to the Federal Court to decide on the date of the upcoming legislative elections.
According to reports, 123 deputies representing the Sunni and Kurdish blocs voted two days before the postponement of the elections in the last session, after the withdrawal of the National Alliance bloc deputies and deputies from the Kurdish Change bloc, which led to the loss of quorum at the meeting.
During the session, Iraq’s parliament failed on Saturday to approve May 12 as the election date, as suggested by the government, as Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers demanded a delay to allow hundreds of thousands of war-displaced people to return home.
Shiite politicians, including Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, insist on holding the election as planned on May 12, saying a delay would be against the constitution.
Speaking after Saturday’s session in Baghdad, Parliamentary Speaker Salim Al-Jabouri, a Sunni, expressed hope that parliament would be able to vote on an election date by Monday, state TV reported.
Abadi is seeking re-election, building on a surge in his popularity among Iraq’s majority Shiite Arab community after leading the three-year fight against Daesh militants, supported by a US-led coalition.
“Postponing the elections would set a dangerous precedent, undermining the constitution and damaging Iraq’s long-term democratic development,” the US Embassy in Baghdad said in a statement on Thursday.


Christian leaders urge Israeli PM to nix church lands bill

Updated 19 October 2018
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Christian leaders urge Israeli PM to nix church lands bill

JERUSALEM: Christian leaders in Jerusalem are urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop a bill that the churches say would allow the state to appropriate land sold to buyers.
Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian church leaders wrote a letter to Netanyahu on Friday saying the vote “constitutes a flagrant disregard” of his earlier assurances to block the legislation. The government’s Ministerial Legislation Committee will reportedly vote on the bill on Sunday.
The bill’s sponsor, lawmaker Rachel Azaria, has said the questionable sales of these properties have plunged thousands of Jerusalem residents into uncertainty over their living conditions.
Earlier this year, the churches shut Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, for three days after the municipality tried to levy taxes on church properties.