PM Changes Iraqi Political Format Forever

By Mustafa Habib.

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

My way or the highway: PM changes iraqi political format forever

In passing the 2013 budget, Iraq’s PM switched from consensual, quota-based law making to his way: majority rule. The result: political tensions rising.

The Iraqi budget for 2013 was passed in parliament in Baghdad on March 7. And in itself, this is not unusual. But what is unprecedented is the way in which it was passed.

The budget was ratified by what one analyst called “a fleeting alignment of the main Shiite [Muslim] political blocs and defectors from the predominantly Sunni [Muslim] and secular Iraqiya list”. In other words, it was passed by a political majority rather than by political consensus, which is what Iraqi politicians have been using to get their laws onto the books since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country that ended Saddam Hussein’s regime.

It was “a wafer-thin majority”, US analyst Michael Knights, wrote for the Washington Institute, a think tank dedicated to improving the US’ foreign policy in the Middle East.

Such decision making – by majority, rather than consensus – is a major political transformation for Iraq. And it has opened the door to heated discussions on the possibility of this kind of decision making becoming more permanent.

In terms of the 2013 budget, a fairly large number of opposition MPs boycotted the parliamentary session. This included the Kurdish bloc with around 40 MPs and the opposition Iraqiya bloc with around 80 MPs. Despite their absence though, there were still 168 MPs present in the house which meant that the bill could be voted upon. In the end, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki managed to convince all of them – including 159 Shiite Muslim politicians – to support his version of the 2013 budget and it was ratified.

Afterwards Kurdish politicians issued a statement criticizing the way the budget was approved. They were disadvantaged by the budget’s specifics but they did not focus on this. Their statement focused on the methods used to pass the budget. Using the principle of majority rather than consensus was a dangerous precedent they said.

2 Responses to PM Changes Iraqi Political Format Forever

  1. Lorenzo April 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    The name of the game is “do not blame me!”.

    The kurds and sunnies are pushed to a break away from Baghdad and perhaps Iraq. If they are forced to leave the central government and ask for some sort of independence then it is their own decision, not the bad guy al-Maliki. He, he, he

  2. Coozbee April 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    Its like everyone keeps saying, those people can’t agree on anything. Their so concerned about not getting every nickel that’s out there, to share it with the rest of their people. Saddam, might have been a tyrant, but he controlled the way things were done, and their money was worth something. Now, you have all these greedy politicians, and carpetbaggers, in there cleaning up on everything. it’s like the civil war, that happened in the US. All the civilized peopled left their country, and the riff raff came in, and are raping the country of all its wealth. These companies are setting up shop, but they will not accept payment for goods or services with the Iraqi Dinar. Its dollars, euros, etc. anything BUT the Dinar. So HOW can this country come together, if their own money is worthless???? It can’t. All of those power wielding people there, don’t get paid in Dinar, so how can this country make it. The answer is, IT CAN’t and IT WON’T, until there currency is circulated amongst the streets and the people. Until then, it’s a country without any direction. Maliki, can’t get it together, and now he wants to be a dictator of how things are going to go. The only way to get those people to understand anything is to wield a gun, when giving a directive. Saddam knew this, he knew his people better than anyone. Yes, he was a monster, but he controlled the wild animals, and the only thing that has been eliminated is the zookeeper (animal tamer) whatever. Now everything is amok, with NO guidance or direction. Ask any of those politicians, if they are paid in Iraqi Dinar?????? They will respond ” Are you crazy” “I don’t work for free” Until they get their currency objectives in order, this country will CONTINUE to be bled of all its wealth, and the ones driving the bus are filling their cache’s with anything but Dinar.