Saturday, May 14, 2011

Iraq Completes Another Pieces Of The Government Puzzle By Voting On Vice Presidents

On May 12, 2011 Iraq’s parliament approved three vice presidents. Like all too many things in Iraqi politics, the election of the deputies dragged on for months, and was marked by false starts and brinkmanship. Still, this was one of the last pieces to finalize the Iraqi government, which has been under negotiation since the March 2010 elections.

After trying several times, the Iraqi parliament finally successfully confirmed the country’s vice presidents. They were the two vice presidents from the previous government, Adel Abdul Mahdi from the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and Tariq Hashemi of the Iraqi National Movement, plus newcomer Khudayr Khuzai, who is the head of the Dawa-Iraq party within Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law list. They were all voted on at once, which had been an issue of contention before

New Vice President Khuzai
This was a victory for Premier Maliki as he got his nominee Khuzai through the legislature. Back in February, Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement was complaining that the State of Law-Sadrist-SIIC led National Coalition was getting two vice presidents, Mahdi and Khuzai. They, the Sadrists, and the Kurdish Coalition also said they would not vote for Khuzai. The Sadr bloc for one accused him of corruption when he was Minister of Education under the first Maliki administration. Others were concerned about his ties to Tehran, because he ran a religious center in Qom, Iran while he was in exile there under Saddam Hussein. In mid-April this led State of Law to walk out of a parliamentary session meant to vote on the vice presidents because there was not enough support for Khuzai. Another problem was that all the way up to the final vote on the deputies, Turkmen politicians wanted one of the vice presidents to come from their ethnic group. Finally, the Kurdish Coalition had complained that three vice presidents was a waste of money, and that only one was necessary. By May all of that opposition faded away, and Maliki got his man into office. As happens all too many times, Iraq’s parties practiced brinkmanship, threatening each other and dragging out the process until the last minute until all of their complaints suddenly disappeared, and the vice presidents were all confirmed.

The ironic thing about this whole affair is that the vice presidents will have absolutely no power from now on. Previously there was a Presidential Council made up of President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Mahdi and Vice President Hashemi, all three of which had veto power over any legislation. That was only a temporary agreement to give a Kurd, a Shiite, and a Sunni equal power in an executive office. Now the deputies are simply symbolic posts, yet they were caught up in the power struggle between Iraq’s parties. With that finally overcome, there are only three remaining posts within the government, the very important security ministries, which are still vacant.


Ali, Ammar, “Iraqiya deems fourth vice president burden for treasury,” AK News, 2/15/11

Ali, Saman, “Parliament voted for 1-3 presidential vices,” AK News, 1/9/11

Alsumaria, “Abdul Mehdi declines Iraq Vice President nomination,” 3/28/11
- “Iraq President refuses Turkman candidate as Vice President,” 4/16/11

Anderson, Liam, “Internationalizing Iraq’s Constitutional Dilemma,” will appear in The Kurdish Policy Imperative, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2009

Aswat al-Iraq, “Dawlat al-Qanoon lawmakers leave parliament’s session,” 4/14/11
- “Parliament votes against Iraqi President’s proposal to increase number of his Vice-Presidents:,” 2/16/11
- “Parliament’s voting on Security Cabinet Posts postponed, Speaker says,” 5/12/11
- “Three leading Iraqi Coalition won’t vote on one of three candidates for Vice-Presidents posts,” 2/13/11

Brosk, Raman, “Iraq president still has no vices,” AK News, 3/23/11

Brosk, Raman and Al-Zayyadi, Khuloud, “SLC insists on Khuzaei’s vice presidency nomination despite Sadrist rejection,” AK News, 2/14/11

Ibrahim, Haider, “Close source to Maliki supports voting on Vice President,” AK News, 4/13/11

Al-Jawari, Fulaih, “MP gathers signatures to elect Turkman as Iraqi vice president,” AK News, 4/16/11
- “No agreement on third Iraqi vice president: parliament,” AK News, 4/14/11

Khalat, Khader, “Iraq’s Turkoman candidates for Vice President,” AK News, 12/28/10

Al-Khozaee, Kholod, “Political standoff over Iraqi vice president post,” AK News, 2/13/11

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Iraqi Deputies Question Need For Three Vice Presidents,” 3/25/11

Saifaddin, Dilshad, “Majority votes to one vice president, says lawmaker,” AK News, 12/24/10

Shames, Abdullah, “Adel Abdul Mahdi to be Iraqi vice president,” AK News, 12/30/10

Sowell, Kirk, “Inside Iraqi Politics Issue No. 9,” 2/25/11
- “Inside Iraqi Politics No. 13,” 4/26/11

Visser, Reidar, “The Ongoing Government-Formation Process in Iraq: Phase 2 Completed,”, 2/13/11
- “Parliament Approves Three Vice-Presidents,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 5/12/11
- “A Sadrist Minister of Planning,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 4/5/11
- “Still No Vice-Presidents after State of Law Withdrawal from Parliament,” Iraq and Gulf Analysis, 4/14/11

Xinhua, “Iraqi parliament fails to approve candidates for three VP posts,” 4/15/11

Al-Ziyadi, Kholod, “More over post of Iraqi vice president,” AK News, 2/14/11

No comments:

This Day In Iraqi History - Apr 21 Coalition Provisional Authority created to run post-war Iraq

  1802 Wahabi army from Arabia sacked Karbala 2,000-5,000 killed