Iraqis will go to the polls in January, in long- awaited provincial elections which are expected to help a process of national reconciliation, local media said on Monday.
The elections will take place on January 31 in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces, with the disputed multi-ethnic Kirkuk province and the three autonomous provinces of Kurdistan excluded, reported dpa.
Campaigning for elections will start at the beginning of December and will last for two months, al-Arabiya television reported.
Iraq's provincial elections were due to be held October 1, but were postponed when the Iraqi Parliament failed to pass an election law last summer. Disputes over the northern Kirkuk province hindered the process.
Kirkuk has one of the world's largest oil fields. Its multi-ethnic population comprises Kurds, Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Turkomans.
For decades Iraq's Kurds have pushed to include Kirkuk in the Kurdish autonomous region, with the Iraqi central government consistently refusing.
Saddam Hussein expelled many Kurds from the city during his reign and replaced them with Arabs, in an attempt to change the city's demographic structure.
The Iraqi parliament will send a fact-finding committee to report on Kirkuk's demographic structure before and after the 2003 US invasion. According to the committee's findings a law will be structured for Kirkuk's elections.