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.
Critics of Iraq’s prime minister Nuri al-Maliki must have realized it late yesterday, if not earlier: President Jalal Talabani is not going to call for a no confidence vote in Maliki. A letter from Talabani’s office made that perfectly clear, leaving Maliki’s critics with only one constitutional option for unseating the premier – a questioning before parliament, to be followed in a subsequent and separate session by a no confidence vote.
In theory, holding the questioning itself should be relatively easy. A mere 25 deputies can ask the parliament presidency (all of which is currently anti-Maliki) to summon the prime minister. The threshold for asking for a subsequent no confidence vote is also modest: A fifth of deputies, i.e. 65 deputies in the current 325-member assembly.
What should they ask about? This is where the problems begin. True to form, the critics of Maliki have reportedly formed no less than three committees to concoct nasty questions to be put to the premier in the parliamentary chamber.
One story claims Bahaa al-Aaraji, the Sadrist, will lead the charge! Maliki’s allies cannot be any worse than this and have promised catalogues of files of alleged criminal wrongdoing on the part of Maliki’s enemies that will be revealed during the questioning, thereby changing the dynamics radically – or so goes their scenario, anyway.