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Chicago faction wins ruling

A majority is a majority. And parliamentary rules must be followed, Monitor correspondent Lucia Mouat writes. Thus Circuit Judge James Murray stepped into the ongoing battle between Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and the majority on the City Council. The judge ruled that the majority, led by Democratic organization head Edward Vrdolyak, was within its rights in approving its own reorganization plan. That plan puts Mr. Vrdolyak's faction at the helm of most key committees, seats of both jobs and dollar power, and could effectively block many of Mayor Washington's reforms. The mayor had tried to stave off the power grab by closing one meeting without a democratic vote and vetoing the majority's action at another.

Those actions were deemed illegal, but Judge Murray ruled that the mayor has veto power over the funding of the committees.

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Just as both sides had expected, the legal ruling, now under appeal by the mayor's forces, did not resolve what is essentially a political impasse. But the fact that it gave something to both sides is expected to speed up the bargaining efforts under way for the last week.

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