Another reason for the Prime Minister having more power has to do with the Iraqi Parliament itself. It is supposed to be the highest political authority in the land and the President and Prime Minister, as well as other senior positions, should be nominated from within its ranks.
“Parliament is preoccupied with political conflict and its MPs are busy exchanging accusations and insults,” Iraqi MP Zuhair al-Araji told NIQASH. “Parliamentary committees don’t do their job, when it comes to drafting laws that are then supposed to be passed.”
A large number of important laws have been tabled by the last two Parliaments but not many have gone any further. And some of these would have clarified the ambiguous paragraphs in the Constitution. “Then the executive would have been prevented from claiming all the power,” al-Araji says.
The most important of these laws include the country’s oil and gas law, laws pertaining to several senior councils that would have provided more checks and balances, rules of procedure for political activities and the laws around provincial boundaries.
Alongside the lack of forward movement on those very significant laws, is the lack of any movement at all on the abolishment of several Saddam-era laws that restrict public and media freedoms and give the government broader powers. These are still being exploited by the al-Maliki government.
Additionally Parliament has never managed to exercise its right to question senior politicians, even though the Constitution says it can.
And one of the final reasons for al-Maliki’s success in consolidating his power as Prime Minister has been his own personality. He has positioned himself as a strong statesman, particularly when it comes to fighting what he calls “terrorism” inside Iraq. He has also used government funding and state influence to benefit his own allies, and therefore his own party.