Israeli parliament to vote on contentious Nation State bill

A general view shows the plenum during the swearing-in ceremony of the 20th Knesset, the new Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem March 31, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 18 July 2018
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Israeli parliament to vote on contentious Nation State bill

  • The bill enshrines the country’s Jewish character into law
  • Critics say it marginalizes the country’s Arab citizens

JERUSALEM: Israel’s parliament is set to vote on a controversial piece of legislation that would define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
A parliamentary committee has approved a final draft of the Nation State bill, paving the way for the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to vote on its passage into law Wednesday.
Israel’s government says the bill, which would have constitution-like standing, enshrines the country’s Jewish character into law, but critics say it marginalizes the country’s Arab citizens, which constitute around 20 percent of the population, and threatens Israeli democracy. One clause of the bill downgrades the Arabic language from official to “special” standing.
Lawmakers removed a clause allowing the establishment of “separate communities” that was criticized as racist, replacing it with a clause encouraging “Jewish settlement.”


Iraq’s top court ratifies manual recount of May ballots

Updated 19 August 2018
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Iraq’s top court ratifies manual recount of May ballots

  • The court decision paves the way for president to summon lawmakers to an inaugural session
  • Political wrangling over who gets to be prime minister will likely delay the process

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s top court has ratified the results of the country’s May parliamentary elections following a manual ballot recount ordered by the outgoing chamber following charges of irregularities.
The Federal Court’s decision on Sunday paves the way for the president to summon lawmakers to an inaugural session of the new, 329-seat house. In theory, parliament should then proceed to elect a speaker, a president and a prime minister, who will in turn form a new government.
However, political wrangling over who gets to be prime minister will likely delay the process for weeks, maybe months.
A coalition led by maverick Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr won the largest number of seats, 54, followed by an alliance of government-sanctioned militias known as Hashed, with 47.