Iraq’s Federal Court to decide on dissolving parliament next week

Iraq’s Federal Court to decide on dissolving parliament next week
3 min read
01 September, 2022
Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court today postponed announcing its decision into complaints for dissolving the country’s parliament for next Wednesday.
A view of the Supreme Judicial Council during a hearing on a lawsuit contesting the results of the Iraq's parliamentary elections in Baghdad, Iraq on 27 December 2021. [Getty]

 Iraq's Supreme Federal Court postponed declaring its decision on complaints to dissolve the country's parliament until next Wednesday, 7 September, the court said in a tweet without further clarifications today.

Before the postponement, the court, in another tweet, clarified that a discussion session was held in the room of the court's president and not at the court's trial room.  

Iraq has been stuck in a political impasse since last October's parliamentary elections, with no president or a new cabinet as rival political parties could not reach a quorum set at two-thirds of the house's 329 members, according to an interpretation by Iraq's Supreme Federal Court.

Iraq's Supreme Federal Court is the country's top judiciary authority tasked with interpreting the articles of the Iraqi constitution, and its decision is binding to all and cannot be appealed.

The court had adjourned two previous sessions on the same issue on 17 August  and 30 August .

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on his supporters to raise thousands of complaints to Iraq's Supreme Federal Court to dissolve parliament on pretexts of failure to respect the constitutional timelines. According to article 72 of the Iraqi constitution, the newly elected parliament should elect a president within one month from the parliament's first session.

Failing to form a government free of Iran-backed parties that have dominated many state institutions for years, Sadr ordered all 74 of his lawmakers – around a quarter of the parliament – to resign in June.

Live Story

The cleric's Shia rivals from the Coordination Framework, a coalition of influential pro-Iran factions, have conditionally accepted his call to dissolve parliament and hold new polls.

In earlier August, former Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a long-time Sadr foe and leader of a key faction in the Coordination Framework (CF), called for the resumption of legislative sessions so that parliament amends the country's elections law, create a new cabinet to replace PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi's caretaker government, and then the parliament might decide to dissolve itself.

According to the constitution, the legislature can only be dissolved through a vote passed by an absolute majority. A vote can be requested by a third of lawmakers or by the prime minister with the president's approval.

The Sadrist Movement refused the suggestions by the CF and insists that PM Kadhimi remain and the Supreme Federal Court must dissolve the parliament immediately. They fear the CF, which has a majority in the parliament, will amend the law according to their own electoral goals.

On the other hand, the CF depends on a constitutional principle that Kadhimi's caretaker government cannot supervise the  general elections.

According to a previous decision by the Supreme Federal Court, Iraq should amend its current election law for the next general elections.  

According to the second provision of Article 72 of the 2005 Iraqi constitution, the parliament must elect the president within a maximum period of 30 days from their first session after the election.

The parliament held this session on 9 January and the period for electing the president expired on 8 February.

Latif Sheikh Mustafa, a constitutional law expert and former Iraqi MP told The New Arab in early March that the 30-day deadline in the second provision of Article 72 "is not subject to extension in any way", clarifying that all decisions made after this period are contrary to the constitution and the court had to decide for fresh elections across the country.