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Iraq postpones census for 2nd time

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The census was originally planned for October 24, then December 5
  • It would have been the first census since 1987
  • Lawmakers will decide the new date when they meet next week

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's first census in more than 20 years was postponed Tuesday for a second time after a disagreement in the Iraqi cabinet.

Officials originally planned to hold the census October 24 and later moved it to December 5.

Meeting Tuesday, Iraqi cabinet members decided to postpone the census again because of a dispute over Arab, Kurd, and Turkmen areas in a number of provinces, Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman told CNN. Some politicians also rejected the mention of nationality in the census, he said.

The last Iraqi census happened in 1987 under Saddam Hussein's regime and counted a total Iraqi population of 16 million. International organizations now put that number at around 30 million.

Plans to hold the census in 2007 were canceled because of sectarian violence in the country at the time.

Iraq's political leaders plan to decide the new date for the census when they meet next week.