Iraq and Gulf Analysis

An Iraq Blog by a Victim of the Human Rights Crimes of the Norwegian Government

44 Iraqi MPs Resign: Who Are They, and What Are the Consequences?

Posted by Reidar Visser on Tuesday, 31 December 2013 16:05

Following the recent political crisis in Iraq involving the arrest of a prominent Sunni MP from Anbar, 44 Iraqi MPs resigned yesterday in protest. Media seemed content to dwell on their numbers and their Sunni sectarian identity, but questions remain regarding their backgrounds, political affiliations and not least the consequences of their resignations.

Regarding the identities of the resigned MPs, the question can be resolved quite easily. Some media claimed that they all belonged to the bloc of parliament speaker Usama al-Nujayfi, but that couldn’t be true since Nujayfi does not control that kind of number of deputies on his own. Thankfully, though, a website affiliated with his bloc has released the names of the resigned MPs. This makes it possible to collate their names with their political sub-entities within the secular-Sunni Iraqiyya coalition in the Iraqi parliament, as well as the governorates they represent.

It should be stressed that the list of resigned MPs is probably based on a statement of Zafir al-Ani as it was delivered, because it contains some obvious misspellings of names and makes it quite impossible to verify the identity of a handful of resigned deputies. Nonetheless, the patterns that do emerge are clear enough.

Hashemi

Nujayfi

Karbuli

Ani

Mutlak

Allawi

Iraqi

Islamic Party

Unity of Iraq

Other

?

Nineveh

5

1

1

1

2

10

Diyala

2

1

1

1

1

6

Salahaddin

2

2

4

Baghdad

2

1

4

1

1

1

1

1

12

Anbar

2

2

1

1

1

1

8

 Unknown

4

4

4

8

6

3

3

3

5

1

2

5

44

***

In the list above, the category “other” includes a Turkmen representative as well as the reported shock resignation of Hajim al-Hasani, who was given his “compensation” seat in parliament as the Sunni face of the State of Law bloc of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Those listed as “Allawi” tend to state their affiliation as being with the Harakat al-Iraqiyya created in 2009 rather than the older Wifaq sub-bloc of Allawi.

From this rough calculation, a somewhat more even distribution of resigned Iraqiyya MPs emerges. Parliament speaker Nujayfi still has the lion’s share of resigned MPs, but a considerable number of Hall deputies (Karbuli) – from Baghdad in particular – have also resigned. Pretty much all of the Iraqi Islamic Party has resigned, signifying their growing conflict with Maliki over the past few years.

Politically speaking, it must be bad for Maliki that so much of the Karbuli faction has resigned. Back in 2012, following the conflict over Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi (who also resigned formally yesterday, at long last), there were signs they were ready to cooperate with Maliki. He didn’t really seem to respond, and today what remains of Iraqiyya in parliament are largely people close to Ayyad Allawi, who are even less likely to cooperate with him.

That said, the question of the consequences of these resignations need not be as dramatic as one would first think. It is noteworthy that the question of resignation of MPs is governed by the law on deputy replacement from 2007, rather than by parliament bylaws. That law says parliament must approve the resignation of deputies if they resign of their own free will.

To some extent, this may all be a pre-election stunt by deputies who realized they might lose their seats unless they improved their popular image. Still, the Iraqi parliament has to pass the 2014 budget before the April elections. It may still be able to get the quorum to do so without the resigned 44, though Maliki will now be more reliant on cooperation with the Kurds than before. It is also possible that some Sunni MPs will chose to remain active in parliament even in the polarized political climate of the day. On the pattern of the governorate council in Anbar – whose members continue to work with Maliki against movements they see as too extreme – they may realize that there are still Sunni Iraqis who are not particularly attracted to the radical rhetoric emerging from all sorts of pan-Islamic movements in neighbouring Syria.

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2 Responses to “44 Iraqi MPs Resign: Who Are They, and What Are the Consequences?”

  1. Joel Wing said

    Thanks Reidar for the timely breakdown of the MPs

  2. Fadel Al-Kifa'ee said

    Insightful analysis, as usual!

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