Monday, May 20, 2024

Parliament Fails Again To Elect New Speaker


Saturday the Iraqi parliament was supposed to elect a new speaker six months after the position was vacated. Instead a fist fight broke out and the voting was delayed until another day.

 

There have been various attempts to elect a new speaker but they have been foiled. First the Sunni parties continued to split and turn on each other over who should be named to the position. Acting Speaker Mohsen al-Mandalawi from the Coordination Framework also blocked some moves to stay in power. More importantly any candidate would have to gain the backing of the Framework as it is the largest list in parliament.

 

In mid-May a deal was announced where Nouri al-Maliki and his State of Law within the Framework would back former Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashadani for another term supported by ex-Speaker Mohammed Halbusi’s Taqadum.

 

On May 18 311 parliamentarians showed up for the vote but it did not go as planned. First off MP Salim al-Issawi from the Sovereignty Bloc backed by Prime Minister Moahmmed al-Sudani and Halbusi’s opponents got 158 votes versus 137 for Mashadani. 166 votes were necessary to be elected.

 

Members of Taqadum then demanded procedural moves to delay another round of voting to determine the winner. That led to a fist fight with members of the Azm Alliance, security being called in and the session was cancelled.

 

Al Aalem reported that the failed vote was due to a budding rivalry between PM Sudani and Maliki who are fighting for control of the Framework. That led the bloc to split between Issawi and Mashadnai.

 

Naming Mashadani was a big surprise to begin with. He was made speaker in 2006 but then dismissed in 2009 in part of a failed attempt to hold a no confidence vote against then Premier Maliki. (1) He reportedly blocked the move. (2) He was also believed to be involved in a bombing of the parliament building in April 2007. The Shiite parties are quick to accuse Sunni politicians of being Baathists and terrorist and yet Maliki was willing to put his name behind Mashadani. It shows that much of those attacks against Sunnis are political and that the Shiite leaders will do just about anything to gain more power for themselves.

 

FOOTNOTES

 

1. UPI, “SIIC denies attempts to oust Maliki,” 1/2/09

 

2. Katzman, Kenneth, “Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks,” Congressional Research Service, 4/22/09

 

SOURCES

 

Al Aalem, “Bloc heads lose control .. Why were the representatives of the Framework divided over the President?” 5/19/24

 

Katzman, Kenneth, “Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks,” Congressional Research Service, 4/22/09

 

Al Mada, “Al-Mashadani approaches the seat of Parliament Speaker through the Dawa Party,” 5/15/24

- “Parliament turns into a wrestling arena after Al-Issawi advanced over Al-Mashadani,” 5/18/24

 

The National, “Fist fight in Iraqi parliament as effort to elect speaker fails,” 5/19/24

 

NINA, “Al-Issawi gets 158 votes and Al-Mashhadani 137 votes at the end of the vote-counting process to elect the Speaker of Parliament,” 5/18/24

- “The Parliament Protection Regiment intervenes to break up the parliamentary altercation inside the Great Hall,” 5/18/24

 

UPI, “SIIC denies attempts to oust Maliki,” 1/2/09

 

Al Zawra, “After Parliament set next Saturday as the date for electing its speaker … an agreement with Sadara … a step forward announces the nomination of Mahmoud Al-Mashadani for the presidency of the House of Representatives,” 5/14/24

 

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