Iraqi election officials propose delay in key regional vote

Iraq's election authority on Sunday proposed delaying important provincial elections planned for this fall, in an apparent sign of frustration over a political impasse that has already stalled preparations for the voting. The provincial election plan - strongly backed by Washington - would shift more political powers to regions and is viewed by Sunni Arabs as a path to gain more influence over decisions by the Shiite-led government. US officials see the voting as another key step in national reconciliation. But any prolonged setbacks could slow momentum on giving Sunnis a greater voice in political and security affairs - considered essential to stabilize the country and maintain pressure on al-Qaida in Iraq and other militant factions.