Iraq and Gulf Analysis

The Iraqi Parliament Moves against Maliki on Several Fronts

Posted by Reidar Visser on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:11

Reports out of the Iraqi parliament are getting more and more extraordinary. The summary of events relating to its session on Monday is no exception.

Among the items on the agenda that were taken up for debate was nothing less than the “questioning of the minister of sports in absentia”. The sports minister, a Turkmen Shia Islamist and an ally of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, has been accused of misconduct relating to the affairs of his ministry, including a major sports city project. The questioning went ahead headed by a Sadrist, whereas Maliki’s minister of parliamentary affairs called for legal procedures before the federal supreme court (relating to recent limitations on the rights of parliament to question ministers) to run their course before any questioning.

In another challenge to Maliki, a second reading for a bill intended to limit the terms of the “three presidencies”(i.e. the president of the republic, the “president of the cabinet” which is Arabic for the prime minister, and “the president of the national assembly”, i.e. the parliament speaker). The move, initiated with a first reading just a week ago, is seen as an obvious attempt to curb Maliki’s ambitions for a third term. It is noteworthy that whereas term limits for the president of the republic exist in the constitution, there is nothing in the Iraqi charter that prevents a prime minister for continuing for unlimited periods as long as he wins parliamentary support to accede to the position each time. Maliki allies have pointed out this, and claim that any attempt to impose limits without fixing the constitution itself (that requires supermajorities) would be unconstitutional. It is also unclear how the federal supreme court would deal with any passage of the law since it is a mere “proposal” rather than a cabinet-sponsored “project”, a legal distinction that limits the possibilities for the Iraqi parliament to initiate legislation.

Finally, Parliament Speaker Usama al-Nujayfi formally communicated a decision by the presidency of the parliament to withhold the voting rights of Maliki ally Hanan al-Fatlawi until she has apologized formally to Nujayfi for insults thrown at him. It is noteworthy that the parliament presidency is dominated by Nujayfi (Iraqiyya) and his two deputies – a Kurd and a Sadrist. In the case of Fatlawi, at least, these forces are standing firm against Maliki, and it will be interesting to see whether Maliki will use the upcoming annual budget law to expand his parliament support base somewhat, or whether he will persevere with his current strategy of a de facto minority government as the local elections of 20 April come closer.

One Response to “The Iraqi Parliament Moves against Maliki on Several Fronts”

  1. Salah said

    Let hear this very honest man from mainstream Iraqi he is a poet (Arabic, Iraqi local accent) he talking what Iraqi got from the Democratic regime set by the war criminal GW Bush.

    For more than 10 years of building democracy sadly this place arguing this matter in different levels and time frim, you all witnessed today Iraq not more than bunch of looser, stupide guys, who don’t know their feet’s from their heads.
    These the promises to Iraqis made by GW Bush back before the invasion when he send his letter broadcasted from Air on board of C130

    We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.

    “will bring to the Iraq people food, medicine, supplies and freedom… we have shown Freedom’s power and in this great conflict we will see Freedom’s victory” while British Prime Minister Tony Blair claims the war in Iraq is a “fight for freedom” and “a fight for justice”

    مظاهرات الانبار شاعر عراقي شريف

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