Iraq: The Parliament That Barely Meets

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.

Throughout March, the Iraqi parliament held only three sessions, passed five laws and did not discuss a single decision concerning public affairs. Al-Monitor has examined parliament’s activity for this month and noted that it did not discuss any laws. Even the laws that were passed in March had been discussed earlier in February and January.

A report issued by the Iraqi Parliament Monitor shows that the total number of the parliament’s working hours in 2012 was 302.6 hours for the total of all sessions, equivalent to 12.6 whole days, or 43.25 seven-hour days.

According to the calculations of this independent monitor — a civil, legal organization based in Baghdad — each MP, whose salary amounts to $34,000 per month, has worked 44 days, which equals $9,000 for every working day.

The majority of Iraqis believe that the parliament does absolutely nothing. They jestingly mock the MPs for getting paid to foment political crises.

The parliament, for 30 days, did not question or summon any official, while corruption and precarious security situations in Baghdad do not afford a permissive parliamentary supervision.

The last time the Iraqi parliament interrogated governmental officials was in 2011. MP Sherwan al-Waili, a Shiite opposed to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, had interrogated the Baghdad secretary — who is responsible for municipality services in the capital — over allegations of wasting public funds on overpriced bridges and road projects. Before that, the pro-Maliki Shiite MP Hanan al-Fatlawi had presented a request to question Faraj al-Haidari, the then Kurdish head of the Independent High Electoral Commission.

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One Response to Iraq: The Parliament That Barely Meets

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo April 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Marginalizing the Parliament? What an understatement!

    Abolish immunity for all politicians and especially for governmental ministers and members of the Parliament!

    The Patliament has become a free bar for thieves!