The Iraqi Presidency Council ratified an amendment to the provincial council law that gives a quota of six seats to minority communities during the upcoming provincial elections in various provinces. Christians get one seat in Nineveh province, another in Baghdad and another in the oil rich province of Basra. Three other minority communities Yazidis, Shabak and Sabeans were each given a provincial seat.
The news was received by Christian leaders as an "insult." The original provincial elections law was passed after a section guaranteeing minorities a quota of representation was struck from the legislation. After nationwide protests from minority communities the parliament chose to pass a version of the law that gave minorities the least amount of representation. A United Nations proposal gave minorities double the number of seats.
Minorities drafted a letter to the presidency council asking them to reject the amendment. But they ratified the amendment today despite objections.
"The most important point is that after all these deliberations the right of the minorities to fix their seats has become a standing right," the council's spokesman Nasir al Ani said.
Screwing the minorities seems to be the order of the day so that the powerful become more powerful. Arab and Islamic parties banned together to pass the law because they worried that giving minorities would help Kurdish expansion. Arab nationalists fear the expansion of the Kurdish region and the ultimate secession of the Kurdish north. Currently the Kurds control the local government in the mostly northern Sunni Arab province of Nineveh.
If Christians received three seats, Yazidis, a religious minority, got one seat and the Shabak, an ethnic minority, got one seat Arabs believed that Kurds would use minority seats as an extension of their own parties in the upcoming elections.
Yonadam Kanna, a Christian lawmaker and Iraqi nationalist, called this a grave mistake and said it showed Christians who "were against them." They may boycott the elections but really what does that do?