Iraq passes electoral reforms but maintains deadlock

Iraq's parliament yesterday.

Iraq’s parliament approved on Tuesday a new electoral law, a key demand of protesters to make elections fairer.

However, political deadlock is still holding up the selection of an interim prime minister, threatening renewed unrest.

Mass protests gripped Iraq from October 1, demanding an overhaul of a political system for profound corruption and higher poverty rates.

More than 450 people have been killed.

The new election law passed by parliament will allow voters to elect individual lawmakers instead of choosing from party lists.

They will also have each member of parliament represent a specific electoral district.

Protesters have demanded not just a new electoral law, but also the removal of the entire ruling elite.

Since 2003, power has been shared along ethno-sectarian lines among parties from Iraq’s largest three communities.

The most powerful post, that of prime minister is held by a Shiite Arab, the speaker of parliament by a Sunni Arab and the presidency by a Kurd.