The Budget Aftermath: Another Quasi-Decision in the Iraqi Parliament

More recently, it is the earmark for armoured cars for Iraqi parliamentarians that has come to the forefront. The massive public criticism of special protection for politicians is understandable given the continuing security problems affecting the poorest of Iraqi society. Nonetheless, the question is how parliament can make changes to the whole budget it just passed.

Today, that issue came up for debate as the Iraqi parliament reconvened. It was decided that in order to make changes to the budget, a new, ordinary law has to be passed. The committees for finance and legal affairs were charged with preparing a draft law, which supposedly will go through the usual two readings before a vote. Thankfully, parliament did not opt for the (perhaps more logical) solution of amending the entire budget.

Politically, it is noteworthy that members of Maliki’s State of Law bloc were in the forefront among those demanding a new law to cancel the spending on the armoured cars. That, alongside the fading of the calls for a supreme court review of the budget, might indicate State of Law ended up concluding that the glass is at least half full and that there is a political net advantage of having negotiated the budget hurdle without any major showdown. Certainly, opening up once more the whole parliamentary debate on the budget would be risky, and even the Iraqi supreme court would probably find it difficult to go ahead with what Maliki perhaps might prefer – reinsertion of article 36 and keeping the rest unchanged.

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