Still No Agreement on Iraq’s Parliamentary Membership

In other words, even though this third replacement is correct as far as the governorate balance of deputies is concerned, the question is whether the replacement law is unambiguous as far as sub-entities within the same electoral list are concerned. The answer, alas, is no. The law is unclear because it refers to a bloc (kutla), a list (qa’ima) and entity (kiyan) in the same sentence, without making it perfectly clear which of them shall be used as point of departure for reckoning the replacement entitlements. One way of reasoning that could be made relevant here would be that since the only entity every voter knew about at the time of the elections was the list (qa’ima), it would make sense to use that as point of departure for replacements, instead of using kutlas which come and go, and which voters may be unaware about.

These three cases come on top of the problem of what to do with the ministers of state that unceremoniously lost their jobs in the recent government downsizing. Recently, the consultative state assembly ruled that these ministers should be given their deputy jobs back, despite the absence of any modalities governing that kind of eventuality in the deputy replacement law. Symptomatically, perhaps, this ruling has yet to be published by the Iraqi ministry of justice.

What all of this may serve to remind us is that in a context of immature institutions in the middle of a democratic transition, calling for new elections might well prove counterproductive. Maybe a far better option would be for parliament to try to work for reform from within. And maybe the best place to start would be two pieces of legislation that are actually called for in the constitution: The federal supreme court bill and the special constitutional revision that has yet to be implemented.

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