Bitter Maliki-Nujaifi Exchanges Strain Political System

On the day following Maliki’s speech, Nujaifi held a news conference in which he accused Maliki of leading a coup against constitutional legitimacy and of running away from popular accountability that is represented by the parliament. Nujaifi added that Maliki’s disbursement from the budget without the parliament’s approval is considered “embezzlement of public funds.” Moreover, he pointed out that Maliki and the acting ministers of defense and interior rejected the parliament’s invitation to attend the session and discuss the security issues in the country.

This is the first time that the dispute between both sides has reached the point of withdrawing legitimacy. A huge constitutional crisis is underway, especially since the government extracts its legitimacy from the parliament’s presence under a regime that is considered, at least theoretically, a parliamentary one.

Moreover, Articles 62 and 57 of the Constitution respectively state, “The cabinet shall submit the draft general budget bill and the closing account to the parliament for approval,” and “The parliamentary session in which the general budget is being presented shall not end until approval of the budget.” Maliki’s speech, which coincided with his allies’ calls to dissolve the parliament or declare a state of emergency, proves concerns that he might be seeking to remain in power, regardless of the results of the elections.

Coinciding with this escalation, relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad have been heading downhill because the two sides have not been able to agree on the budget law. Barzani threatened “to reconsider relations with Baghdad because the Kurds cannot live under threats.”

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