Thursday, October 22, 2020

Iraq’s 2021 Election Faces Another Dilemma As Judge Retires

(Kurdistan 24)
In August Iraq’s Election Commission laid out four preconditions for the 2021 voting to take place. First, parliament had to revise the election law. Second, the Election Commission needed a budget approved. Third, the United Nations and international organizations had to set up a process to advise and monitor the balloting. Last, the Judicial law had to be passed and fill an empty position on the Supreme Court because the judges would resolve any disputes that might arise over the votes. None of these have occurred so far and now the country is facing an added problem.


In 2019 Judge Farouk al-Sami retired from the Federal Court and in October another Judge Abboud al-Tamimi died. That means there are now two vacancies on the Supreme Court that need to be filled before the election can take place. That adds another complication to a process that is already being dragged out.


Iraq’s government works at a snail’s pace and usually with no sense of urgency because everything requires agreements between the party bosses which takes place after long negotiations behind closed doors. It’s already been extensively reported that many of the elite are not interested in early elections called by the prime minister because they are afraid they will be voted out of office. That means they are dragging their feet. The absences on the Supreme Court could give them one more reason to try to delay the vote.




Al Hurra, “Iraqi election law is faltering … loyalists to Iran seek to thwart Al-Kazemi’s plans,” 9/22/20


Al Mada, “Lawyers warn of trouble: After the exit of the second member of the Federal Court,” 10/12/20

Al Mada, “Representative on legal committee: political blocs trying ot exploit differences to postpone the elections,” 9/20/20


New Sabah, “Political blocs trying to obstruct the election law .. It does not serve their interests in its current form,” 9/30/20


NINA, “The High Electoral Commission Sets Five Conditions For Holding The Elections,” 9/14/20


NRT, “Iraq’s Electoral Commission Outlines Procedural Requirements For Early Election,” 8/1/20





Humam Miscone said...

Judge Farouk Mahmoud Mohammad Hussain Al Sami retired in December 2019 while Judge Abboud Salih Al Tamimi passed away on October 11th 2020. Please correct.

Saying that “the judges would resolve any disputes that might arise over the votes” is incorrect. Article 93 sets the jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court, and and sub-article 7th stipulates “Ratifying the final results of the general elections for membership in the Council of Representatives”. Accordingly, the Federal doesn’t resolve disputes, but just ratifies the final results of the CoR elections. Resolving disputes is the job of a special judicial review committee under the Higher Judicial Council. Please correct

Joel Wing said...

I got the two judges mixed up.

As for the Supreme Court and election disputes there are just a few examples. In 2009 the Speaker of Parliament went to the Supreme Court to set a date for the 2010 elections because of disputes amongst MPs. The 2010 election law was also brought before the Supreme Court by the Election Commission over the Accountability and Justice Commission attempting to ban some candidates and was also brought before the court over the distribution of seats. When candidates were banned they appealed to the Supreme Court. After the 2010 election Maliki went to the Supreme Court for a definition of what the largest bloc meant to form a govt.

Humam Miscone said...

All this is correct, but this is about the legislative framework that governs the elections not about the election process and results, i.e., the Federal Supreme Court job isn’t resolving disputers that that arise about the election, but only ratifying the results after costs and disputes are resolved by IHEC and the Judicial Review Committee under the Higher Judicial Council.

For the 2010 examples, this is part of the Federal Supreme Court jurisdiction set in Article 93 - 3rd of the Constitution: “settling matters that arise from the application of the federal laws, decisions, regulations, instructions, and procedures issued by the federal authority. The law shall guarantee the right of direct appeal to the Court to the Council of Ministers, those concerned individuals, and others”. And the examples of 2020 were disputes about the application of Law of CoR Elections and the Law of the Accountability and Justice Commission not about the results of the elections.

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