And this is why, nine years after the Iraqi Constitution was drafted, the position of Prime Minister is so powerful and so eagerly contested. It really has become the most important job in the country, which is why it is also the subject of such intense negotiation.
Currently the Shiite Muslim group of parties in Parliament, who have a majority of seats, are split. The Sadrist movement, which is led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Citizen, or Muwatin, bloc led by another cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, are both opposed to another term led by al-Maliki. However al-Maliki’s bloc is the biggest of the three.
This is why a true analysis of the situation must go beyond al-Maliki himself, as the above reasons show. The best way to bring the country back to order is not simply to get rid of al-Maliki. It must also be about reducing the powers of the Prime Minister and bringing back a system of checks and balances, the way it was originally intended to be. Parliament and Iraq’s President should both be working to their full potential and exercising the power that the Constitution gives them.
Granting Iraq’s various provinces more power, as stipulated by Law 21, passed by Parliament in mid-2013, would also decrease the power the Prime Minister wields.