Iraqi official says provincial elections unlikely this year

Iraq's provincial elections are unlikely to be held this year, a top parliament official said Sunday. Khalid al-Attiya, a deputy parliament speaker, said objections to a draft provincial law were making it difficult to hold the elections as planned this fall. He also said elections could be further delayed due to a need to update election registration in early 2009. His comments highlighted the impasse over the election law, which has left Kurdish leaders at odds with the central government. Political parties were asked to offer changes to the law by Monday. The standoff is over how to allocate local council seats in the disputed region of Kirkuk, which Kurds claim as part of their historical homeland.