Rift Deepens Between Maliki and Nujaifi

By Ali Abel Sadah for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Following an attempt by Iraqi parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi (pictured) to restore the dismissed head of the Justice and Accountability Committee to his post, in a clear challenge to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Maliki’s supporters are seeking to oust Nujaifi.

Nujaifi recently ordered that Falah Shanshal resume his position as the head of the Justice and Accountability Committee, a day after his dismissal by Maliki.

Al-Monitor was able to secure a copy of an official press statement titled “Directive” in which Nujaifi stated that the “election of Shanshal and his deputy Bakhtiar Omar by the members of the Justice and Accountability Committee was legal. The committee is exclusively associated with the parliament.”

Maliki and Nujaifi have been fighting over the power to supervise independent committees including the Judicial Council, the Justice and Accountability Committee, the Electoral Committee and the Human Rights Committee.

Both parties exchanged accusations of politicization and using the committees for personal purposes. Maliki’s opponents argue that he is exerting tremendous efforts to maintain control over the committees.

Nujaifi’s decision to reassign Shanshal, a leading member of the Sadrist movement, not only defies Maliki but also reflects the chaos endemic within Iraqi state institutions.

Maliki dismissed Shanshal following the decision to remove Chief Justice Midhat al-Mahmoud in accordance with the de-Baathification law. The State of Law coalition regards this decision as political targeting.

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