FACTBOX - Iraq's legislative agenda
(Reuters) - Following is the status of key pieces of Iraqi legislation. The United States regards many of the laws as vital to healing the country's sectarian divide.
JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY - Parliament passed a bill in January allowing former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to regain their jobs in the government and military. The measure had been demanded by minority Sunni Arabs, who were dominant under Saddam. Many Baathists were sacked after Saddam was toppled in 2003. Five months later, implementation of the law is bogged down by infighting between politicians.
AMNESTY - An amnesty law passed in February opened the way for a general release of prisoners detained in security sweeps in recent years. It was seen as a step towards reconciling disaffected Sunni Arabs with the Shi'ite-led government since most detainees were Sunni Arabs accused of involvement in an insurgency against the government. Committees of judges have met to review thousands of cases and recommended most of those inmates be freed. Some prisoners have been released, but the exact number is unclear. The amnesty does not apply to those convicted of major crimes such as murder.
PROVINCIAL POWERS - This law, also passed in February, defined relations between Baghdad and local authorities and was seen by Iraqis as laying the foundation for provincial elections. It outlines the power allocated to Iraq's 18 provinces and their governors, how provincial councils are elected and how governors take office.
LAWS BEING DEBATED
PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS - Parliament is debating a draft law that will set the framework for fresh local elections. The government has made October 1 the date for the polls. One stumbling block has been a dispute over whether to use an open list electoral system -- where voters can choose specific candidates -- or a closed list one, where they can only select political parties. The closed system was used in previous polls. Iraq's Electoral Commission has said it won't have time to organise the elections unless the law is passed soon. The draft law bans any party with a militia from competing.
LAWS YET TO REACH PARLIAMENT
OIL - Seen as the most important of all legislation sought by the United States, this measure would equitably share Iraq's vast oil wealth among its ethnic and sectarian groups and lay the legal foundation for foreign investment in the sector. While cabinet approved a draft in early 2007, it remains bogged down because of disputes between the central government and the northern Kurdish region over control of reserves and the authority to sign contracts with foreign oil companies, as well as what sort of body will oversee the industry.
CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM - Parliament's constitutional reform committee failed last year to reach agreement on amending key provisions of the constitution and debate on the measure since appears to be have been shelved.
(Editing by Dean Yates)
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