By Mustafa Habib.
Why Iraqi Mps Can Never Pass a Law, And Why it May Endanger 2014 Elections
The Iraqi parliament has become notorious for never passing an important law. For weeks MPs have been discussing legislation around how political parties are formed. At the same time they’re neglecting other important laws. Which begs two serious questions: will it mean 2014’s general elections are postponed? And why are they like this?
Iraq’s elected representatives have been talking about the same topic for weeks now: the laws that will govern next year’s parliamentary elections. These are scheduled to be held in April 2014.
The debate about the law regarding next year’s election is a complicated one that will decide on exactly what kind of system of representation the country uses. There are various different models used in different democracies around the world and currently Iraq is trying to decide which one it wants. This year, the results of the provincial elections were newly governed by a mathematical formula called the Sainte-Laguë formula. This system stops larger parties from gobbling up the votes smaller parties have won, if the smaller parties haven’t won enough votes to pass a certain threshold.
Obviously it is important to decide which system is going to be used in Iraq’s 2014 elections and apparently a deadline – Oct. 30 - has been set for the debate to end and the new system to be legally adopted. Currently though, the debate continues in Baghdad and some have even suggested that if the political parties legislation isn’t renovated in time, that the current prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki may use the delay as an excuse to postpone the elections.
However while MPs are debating this law, several other very important laws continue to languish in a legislative no man’s land. And now, if elections do go ahead on time, they may never be voted on, debated or passed – because Parliament has only six months to finish its current business.