Abbas al-Bayati, a member of the United Iraqi Alliance, a Shiite parliamentary bloc,said in a statement to the Aswat al-Iraq news agency thatthe Council of Representatives has decided that a vote must be pushed through before the Eid festival that concludes the holy month.

A six-member panel, headed by the parliamentary speaker Mahmud al-Mashhadani and featuring the leaders of the main Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs, has been in negotiations since early September in an attempt to assuage Kurdish opposition to the bill which has delayed the vote in parliament.

Kurdish MPs have opposed holding municipal polls in the disputed northern region of Kirkuk, which is claimed by Kurds and Arabs.