The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Almost one and a half years after the general elections of 7 March 2010 and amid persistent street protests, the Iraqi parliament can’t even make up its mind as to who exactly are its 325 members.
According to the official agenda, yesterday’s session of parliament should have been devoted to such momentous issues as the second reading of the strategic policy council bill and a vote on the amended parliamentary bylaws. As expected, none of this was actually addressed by the almost half-empty assembly. However, the presidency of the parliament announced an interesting forthcoming vote – supposedly on Saturday – on the “correctness of the parliamentary membership” of three deputies, namely Jawad al-Shuhayli, Jamal al-Gaylani and Ammar Hasan Abd Ali.
The reason there are controversies relating to these and other members of parliament is the replacement process that began in December 2010 for deputies that became promoted to ministers in the second Maliki government. That process continued well into 2011, and in March came to involve a vote on 7 deputies whose membership qualifications were in doubt. Lately, the matter has been further complicated by the fact that more than a dozen ministers lost their cabinet jobs as a result of the government downsizing and have demanded they get their old jobs as deputies back!