Iraq's parliament adjourned for a monthlong recess on Wednesday without passing a potentially vital provincial elections law. That throws into question the possibility that provincial council elections will be held this year, the New York Times reports.
Crucially, as the Times notes, this law was a chance for Iraqi lawmakers to take advantage of the drop in violence in the country and make a significant step towards political reconciliation.
Both the Iraqis and the U.S. had made passage of the law a priority. A recent meeting that was held with the goal of reaching some sort of accord was attended by the Iraqi prime minister and the U.S. ambassador, as well as a representative from the U.N. President Bush has also been calling Iraqi officials to press for a deal. But, the Times says, these efforts may have backfired. "[T]he pressure from the Americans has irked some participants as outside interference," the paper reports.