On Aug. 26, 2013, the Federal Supreme Court of Iraq announced that it had overturned a previous law, passed by parliament, that limits the president, prime minister and parliament speaker to two terms of office.
The law, which was passed by parliament on Jan. 26, 2013, had prevented Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from running for a third term as head of the government.
Judge Abdul Sattar Bayraktar told Al-Monitor, “The Federal Supreme Court invalidated the law, which was voted on by parliament and limited the terms of the president, prime minister and parliament speaker, under the pretense that it is a proposed law and not a draft law.”
There is a big difference between the two terms: Proposed laws are referred by MPs, while draft laws are submitted by the federal government, led by Maliki.
In 2011, Maliki addressed Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, where he emphasized that “the government that I lead is the one that has the right to promulgate laws, which should be subject to discussion and vote in parliament.”
Bayraktar said, “The Federal Supreme Court was convened on Aug. 26, 2013, under the chairmanship of Judge Medhat al-Mahmoud, and the membership of each of the following judges: Farouk Mohammed al-Sami, Jaafar Nasser Hussain, Akram Taha Mohammed, Akram Ahmed Baban, Mohammed Saeb al-Naqshbandi, Abboud Saleh al-Tamimi, Michael Shamshoum Kas Korkis and Hussein Abou Taman. The court ruled unconstitutional the law limiting the terms of the president, prime minister and parliament speaker.”
Bayraktar said, “One of the reasons behind the ruling is that parliament has taken a path that is different from the one stipulated by the constitution and decided by constitutional jurisdiction.”
Bayraktar added, “The court’s ruling states that limiting the prime minister’s term in office is contrary to the foundation of the political system, which is based on the will of the people.”
Speaking to Al-Monitor, Mohammed al-Hassan, a Shiite member of the ruling Iraqi National Alliance, said, “The federal court’s ruling will allow Maliki to run for a third term.”