Iraq and Gulf Analysis

The Iraqi Parliament Opens, and Stays Open

Posted by Reidar Visser on Monday, 14 June 2010 14:01

A good indication of the state of affairs of Iraqi politics is the absence of a single, official list of the 325 deputies that were supposed to be present at today’s opening of the second Iraqi parliament after the adoption of the new constitution in 2005. True, there is a list of new deputies at the parliament website, but it is not the updated list after all the changes to the certification of candidates that took place in April and May. Rather, these are just copies of the provisional results released by the Iraqi election commission (IHEC) in late March, and as such they contain several errors. Most notably, they erroneously list two Iraqiyya deputies in Diyala, Abdallah al-Jibburi and Najm al-Harbi, who have been disqualified for legal reasons (criminal cases) and replaced by others from their list (reportedly Muhammad Uthman al-Khalidi and Hassan Sulayman al-Bayati of the Nujayfi bloc and the Turkmen front within Iraqiyya respectively)… Full story here.

13 Responses to “The Iraqi Parliament Opens, and Stays Open”

  1. Jason said

    Just seeing the picture of the new parliament all together in the same room gives me hope for the future. [Now quickly, somebody lock the doors and turn off the AC until they form a govt!] Just kidding.

    I’m curious, do other parliamentary systems have this same phenomenon of leaving a “session” open indefinitely? Or do they have some procedural mechanism to finally cut off the negotiations? Or is it an acceptable conclusion to simply allow Maliki to continue on as de facto PM for as long as they remain at stalemate?

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Not sure how widespread that kind of arrangement is. I could not find it in the constitution or in the parliamentary bylaws when I checked very quickly.

    It should be added that the Iraqis are not the only slow formers of government in the world. Last time I checked, the European record was 208 days (Netherlands in 1977). Still, you could argue that things are a bit more pressing in Iraq and there is really no excuse for the Iraqi politicians to continuously procrastinate over this and make a mockery of the constitution that they themselves wrote.

  3. Jason said

    Every news article without fail includes the line that the struggle to form a govt has increased violence and threatens a return to civil war. This article suggests the opposite, that deaths are down and that Iraqi forces continue to improve and lead the fight. Can anyone else add some perspective?

  4. Ali W said

    Reidar, once again the Kurds are demanding tough concessions that makes me thing due to the make up of INM, having the Turkman Front and Hadbaa it will be really difficult for Allawi to get the first shot.

    But I’m jsut wondering, does the constitution allow the KRG to export its own oil? And does the revenue get shared out equally or is it kept for them, plus receiving 17.5% of the south’s oil revenue?

  5. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, well they do not need to negotiate with the Kurds if they reach out to Maliki instead… Even the Kurds agree that export is a central-government prerogative, but they want rights on management and contracts.

    Jason, I personally don’t think the level of mortality is a particularly interesting variable in the study of democracies. Many authoritarian states have admirably low levels of mortality… Let’s get back to the politics of this!

  6. Ali MM said

    I noticed Mohammed Bahr Al-Uloum in the still picture of the new parliament. Has he been elected?

  7. mostafa said

    Hi Reidar,
    Yesterday I read in burathanews that Hamid Mualla of ISCI said that the wise men committee was annulled because it was not able to hold a meeting. What about that?

    Is it true that formation of Iraqiyya was achieved in the Turkish Foreign minister’s house with Saudi and Syrian support?

  8. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, I noticed that too but realised there were plenty of dignitaries there that weren’t deputies (including foreign diplomats). No one seems to have reacted to the fact that Ammar al-Hakim was there for example, even though he is not a deputy. Nor a rais of a kutla, for that matter!

    Mostafa, I saw that report too. Not sure what to make of it: The suggestion was that the committee had proved incompetent so they would try 4 wise men instead, 2 from SLA and 2 from INA…

    I have no idea about the Saudi/Syrian/Turkish involvement you are referring to. What I do know is that the strengthening of Iraqiyya to a considerable extent reflects a turn towards greater emphasis on Iraqi nationalism in the 2008-2009 period.

  9. Jason said

    Hakim’s grand announcements are becoming a bad joke. If the “National Alliance” is not going to finally hold a vote for a PM nominee, then I suggest that they put Maliki, Jaafari, and al Mahdi to a fight in a cage match until the last man standing is the winner. It wouldn’t be any more absurd than what we are witnessing now.

  10. Kermanshahi said

    Reidar, Kurdish media report that Maliki has accepted implementation of article 140, can you confirm this?

  11. Reidar Visser said

    I haven’t seen that yet. I guess a key question to the Kurds is whether there is a timeline attached to the promise or not.

  12. Ali W said

    hi reader, the above article is very interesting, however i was unable to find the article in Aswat Al iraq, I really doubt its accuracy. Abeeb announced that the nomination of NA will be announced in two days.

  13. Reidar Visser said

    These are just rumours. I don’t find them very interesting myself. At any given time there is now at least one SLA or INA figure saying the PM will be decided “in two days”. For some reason, it is always 2 days.

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