Iraq cabinet unveils sweeping reform of Saddam law
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's cabinet unveiled sweeping reforms to a law barring members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party from public life on Sunday, in a bid to head off months of rallies by the country's Sunni Arab minority.
The amendment to a De-Baathification law still need to be approved by parliament but if implemented, would mark a key concession to demonstrators in Iraq's north and west who have alleged that the current rules promote unfair targeting of their community by the Shiite-led authorities.
Ministers on Sunday approved a draft amendment that would allow Baath branch chiefs, or firqa-level members, to rejoin the civil service, and would provide for pension payments for many members of the Fedayeen Saddam, a paramilitary organisation loyal to the now-ousted dictator.
It would also put a time limit on the law, ensuring that only names blacklisted by the end of 2013 would be restricted from public life.