Iraq's Presidency Agrees On Election Laws

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BAGHDAD - A spokesman says Iraq's presidential council has agreed on a law that paves the way for U.S.-backed provincial elections to be held by the end of January.

The spokesman for the panel, Nasser al-Ani, tells The Associated Press that the law has gained unanimous approval from the three-member panel and will be officially signed later Friday.

Al-Ani says the panel led by President Jalal Talabani decided to approve the law on Monday but did not sign it due to Islamic holidays.

The move is a breakthrough for U.S. efforts to promote national reconciliation after months of deadlock over power-sharing issues in northern Iraq.

Iraqi lawmakers set aside the divisive issues of the oil-rich region around Kirkuk and representation of minorities.