Thursday, February 4, 2010

Candidates Unbanned From Running In March 2010 Election

The banning of 511 candidates from the March 2010 election has taken another dramatic turn. On February 3, 2010 the Election Commission announced the Accountability and Justice appeals court had re-instated all of the banned candidates, and that their cases would be dealt with after the election. Vice President Joe Biden was the first one to propose this in mid-January 2010. The National Alliance that runs the Accountability and Justice Commission immediately picked up on that fact, accusing Washington of interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs. The head of the Commission, Ali al-Lami, who is running as a National Alliance candidate, went further saying that the appeals court decision violates the constitution, and if the Election Commission allows the banned candidates to participate in the voting then they will be sued.

Whatever the ultimate fate of the candidates is, the National Alliance has accomplished their goal. All of the major parties are talking about Baathists and the banning instead of issues like services, the economy or security that were the major themes of the 2009 election. That suits the National Alliance because the major parties in the coalition, such as the Supreme Council and the Sadrists, disagree about almost everything from federalism to Kirkuk. They also ran southern Iraq and Baghdad for four years with little success. That leaves them with nothing of substance to run on, so they might as well focus upon the meaningless, the threat of Baathists. That was the likely reason why they banned the candidates in the first place, to re-shape the election on their terms.

SOURCES

AK News, “Iraq considers dissolution of the Accountability and Justice Commission,” 1/20/10

Aswat al-Iraq, “IHEC says all banned candidates to run in election,” 2/3/10

Roads To Iraq, “Barred candidates allowed to stand, INA’s emergency meeting … updated,” 2/3/10

Sullivan, Marisa Cochrane, “Sunni Politicians Barred From Candidacy,” Institute for the Study of War,” 1/14/10

Visser, Reidar, “Reinstated, for the Time Being,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 2/3/10

3 comments:

Jason said...

BBC now reporting that the "unbanning" is to be challenged by govt. Special meeting of parliament set for Sunday.

Joel Wing said...

Yes, the National Alliance and Maliki seem both committed to the banning.

Anonymous said...

I sure wish I could have consulted on writing that legal opinion overturning the ban. It could have been the Iraqi equivalant of our Marbury v. Madison, establishing the power of judicial review over the other branches of government, and fleshing out concepts like fundamental rights (to stand for election) and the requirements of due process necessary before they could be infringed: right to a trial before unbiased tribunal; right to present evidence; to confront and cross examine accusers; prohibitions against prosecution under a vague and ambiguous law; requirement that laws are directly related to a strong government interest, and that legal proscriptions are narrowly tailored; etc, etc, etc. Heady stuff that we take for granted.

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