Thursday, July 31, 2008

Special Sunday Session of Parliament For Election Law

Iraq’s parliament ended its session Wednesday July 30 without resolving the disputes over the provincial election law. Lawmakers are suppose to be on summer break, but the Speaker of Parliament Mahmoud Mashhadani said there will be a special session Sunday August 3 to try to get the bill passed, but signs are not good for a compromise.

The major impediment is the immediate future of Kirkuk. The law that was passed earlier, and then vetoed by the President Council said that elections in Kirkuk’s Tamim province should be delayed six months. In the meantime, the provincial council would be equally divided between Kurds, Arabs, and Turkoman, with the Christians receiving one seat. The Kurds support the election delay, but object to the council provision because they currently control it, and are probably a majority in the province as well. Ultimately, the Kurds hope to annex Kirkuk to Kurdistan, but that process has been put on hold as well because of the same divisions that are delaying passage of the election law.

Iraqi politicians and the public remain deeply divided over the issue. Thousands of Kurds have been protesting in Kirkuk and Kurdistan against the law. Before parliament adjourned, Turkman politicians walked out of the election committee. Al Hayat newspaper also reported that the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) had split with its militia, the Badr Brigade, when the law first came up. The SIIC voted against the law, while Badr was angered when the Kurds walked out, and voted for it as a protest. The Kurds, the SIIC, and the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front would also benefit from the bill not passing on Sunday, and the provincial balloting being delayed because they will be challenged in the elections and would like more time to consolidate their power. The United Nations is also trying to mediate the crisis. It will be interesting to see whether the dominant coalition of the Kurds and the SIIC, will be able to keep their hold over parliament and either pass a law they agree with or block one that they don’t. It was said that the original law getting through was the first time the Kurds had been defeated in the legislature.

SOURCES

Alsumaria, “Kirkuk security escalation has repercussions on Parliament’s session,” 7/29/08

Missings Links Blog, “A reported split within Hakim’s Supreme Council bloc,” 7/28/08b

Parker, Ned, “Iraq parliament plans emergency session on local elections,” Los Angeles Times, 7/31/08

Raghavan, Sudarsan, “Dozens Kill in Iraq Suicide Bombings,” Washington Post, 7/28/08

Voices of Iraq, “Protestors in Sulaimaniya present warrant of protest against elections law,” 7/31/08

3 comments:

Crude Analysis said...

Do you happen to know what Article 24 stipulates? Does the law try to amend Article 24 of the constitution or what is this all about?

Also, so the law that was passed and vetoed actually delays elections in Kirkuk and in the meantime splits up the council evenly? I was under the impression that the law just sets an election "quota" of sorts for each group. But I wasn't sure of the exact details. So if the law were passed and approved, they would kick out some of the Kurds in the council and even it all out?!? Hmm... if that's the case, very interesting...

motown67 said...

I don't remember what article 24 is about off the top of my head. I can look it up probably. I believe they are talking about a part of the election law. There's all these articles and instead of just voting on the whole thing in one vote they went through each article of the bill. There are 3 that are holding up it's passage. One said provincial elections in Kirkuk are suppose to be delayed for six months. There are few specifics about what they're suppose to do in that time, but the different groups are suppose to work on the future of the province. Good luck with that. They've been talking about Kirkuk forever with no real progress. Anyway, the Kurds support the delay and so does their allies the SIIC, not sure about other parties. The next part is what got the law vetoed. Another article of the election law says that during the six month delay the provincial council will be evenly split between Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen with one seat for Christians. I assume these people would be appointed by the political parties there. The Kurds have a majority on the council now, plus the council head so obviously they are against this because they would be losing power. A third piece of the legislation, and another part the Kurds object to says security in Tamim province should be under Baghdad's control and not the Kurdish Peshmerga. Hope that helps.

motown67 said...

article 24 is the one in the election law about dividing up Tamim's council. I just read a piece that said even after the 6 month delay they would keep those qoutas for each group in elections. The Kurds are now saying they will take the law to court if 24 is passed.

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