Iraq’s top court rules to oust the speaker and a rival lawmaker from Parliament
November 16, 2023 | by b1og.net
Iraq’s top court rules to oust the speaker and a rival lawmaker from Parliament
In a high-profile feud between the speaker and a rival lawmaker, Iraq’s top court has ruled to remove both individuals from Parliament. The Federal Supreme Court’s decision to terminate the membership of Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and lawmaker Laith al-Dulaimi came without elaborating on the reason behind it. Halbousi called the ruling unconstitutional and his party announced their protest by resigning from key positions in government and Parliament. This comes as a significant political shakeup ahead of Iraq’s upcoming provincial elections.
In a recent ruling, Iraq’s top court has made the decision to oust both the speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi, and a rival lawmaker, Laith al-Dulaimi, from their positions in the country’s legislative body. The Federal Supreme Court issued a statement announcing its decision without providing any explanation for the grounds behind the ruling. This development comes after a highly publicized feud between the two individuals.
II. Iraq’s Top Court Ruling
A. Termination of Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi’s membership in Parliament
The Federal Supreme Court’s ruling led to the termination of Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi’s membership in Parliament. Al-Halbousi, who had previously served as the governor of Anbar province, is a prominent Sunni official in Iraq. His removal from Parliament has raised concerns about the potential impact on Iraq’s political landscape.
B. Termination of lawmaker Laith al-Dulaimi’s membership in Parliament
In addition to al-Halbousi, lawmaker Laith al-Dulaimi also had his membership in Parliament terminated by the court ruling. Al-Dulaimi, who is also a Sunni politician, had filed a lawsuit against al-Halbousi, alleging that the speaker had forged his signature on a resignation letter. The court’s decision has effectively removed both individuals from their positions in the legislative body.
C. Lack of explanation for the court’s decision
Despite the significance of the ruling, the Federal Supreme Court did not provide any explanation for its decision to terminate the memberships of al-Halbousi and al-Dulaimi. The lack of transparency has raised questions and led to speculation about the underlying reasons behind the court’s ruling.
III. Reactions and Dispute
A. Unconstitutionality claim by Mohammed al-Halbousi
Following the court’s ruling, Mohammed al-Halbousi criticized the decision, calling it unconstitutional. He expressed his surprise at the issuance of the ruling and highlighted the lack of respect for the country’s Constitution. Al-Halbousi, who served as the speaker for five years, asserted his commitment to integrity and non-discrimination, emphasizing that he had never shown bias towards either Sunnis or Shiites.
B. Party’s protest and withdrawal from key positions
In response to the court’s decision, al-Halbousi’s political party, Takadum (Progress), announced its protest by withdrawing its representatives from important positions in the federal government. This includes the deputy prime minister, among others. Additionally, the party’s members of Parliament have resigned from parliamentary committees and have chosen to boycott parliamentary sessions.
C. Sectarian power-sharing system in Iraq
Iraq operates under a power-sharing system that is divided along religious and sectarian lines. The parliament speaker role is reserved for a Sunni official, while the positions of prime minister and president are designated for Shiite and Kurdish individuals, respectively. The court’s ruling and the ensuing dispute have once again highlighted the challenges posed by Iraq’s sectarian power-sharing system.
IV. Allegations and Denials
A. Lawsuit filed by Laith al-Dulaimi against Mohammed al-Halbousi
The court ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by lawmaker Laith al-Dulaimi against speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi. Al-Dulaimi claimed that al-Halbousi had forged his signature on a resignation letter. This allegation set the stage for the ensuing legal battle and the subsequent court ruling.
B. Forgery of Laith al-Dulaimi’s signature on a resignation letter
The crux of the lawsuit filed by al-Dulaimi against al-Halbousi revolves around the alleged forgery of the former’s signature on a resignation letter. This accusation has significantly strained the relationship between the two politicians and has led to a wider fallout within Iraq’s political landscape.
C. Denial by Mohammed al-Halbousi
Speaker al-Halbousi vehemently denied the allegations of forgery leveled against him by al-Dulaimi. In a video statement following the court ruling, al-Halbousi expressed his surprise at the decision and reiterated his commitment to upholding the Constitution. He emphasized his integrity throughout his tenure as speaker and strongly denied any discriminatory behavior based on religious or sectarian lines.
V. Mohammed al-Halbousi’s Response
A. Surprise and lack of respect for the Constitution
Mohammed al-Halbousi conveyed his surprise and disappointment at the court’s ruling. He questioned the legality of the decision, labeling it as unconstitutional. Al-Halbousi emphasized the importance of respecting the country’s Constitution and expressed concerns about the lack of adherence to constitutional principles in this case.
B. Claims of integrity and non-discrimination
In response to the allegations and the court ruling, al-Halbousi defended his reputation for integrity and emphasized his commitment to non-discriminatory practices. He stated that throughout his tenure as speaker, he had prioritized the interests of all Iraqis, without showing favoritism towards any particular religious or sectarian group.
VI. Consequences and Resignations
A. Resignation of Takadum (Progress) party representatives in the federal government
Takadum (Progress) party, led by Mohammed al-Halbousi, announced that its representatives in the federal government would resign in protest of the court ruling. This includes prominent positions such as the deputy prime minister. The resignations are intended to showcase the party’s dissatisfaction with the decision and its support for al-Halbousi.
B. Resignation of Takadum (Progress) party members of Parliament
In addition to the resignations from the federal government, members of Takadum (Progress) party who served in Parliament have also tendered their resignations in response to the court ruling. This move further illustrates the party’s rejection of the decision and its solidarity with al-Halbousi.
C. Boycott of parliamentary sessions
As part of their protest against the court ruling, members of Takadum (Progress) party have chosen to boycott parliamentary sessions. This strategic decision is aimed at highlighting their discontent and signaling their dissatisfaction with the process that has led to the removal of al-Halbousi and al-Dulaimi from Parliament.
VII. Election of a New Speaker
A. Non-appealable court decision
The court’s ruling to terminate the memberships of al-Halbousi and al-Dulaimi is non-appealable. This means that the decision is final and cannot be challenged in any higher court. As a result, the focus now shifts towards resolving the vacancy created by the removal of the speaker and electing a new individual to fill this crucial role.
B. Need for the parliament to elect a new speaker
With the court decision removing al-Halbousi from his position as speaker, there is now a pressing need for the Iraqi parliament to elect a new speaker. Given the importance of this role, the decision will likely have significant implications for Iraq’s political stability and future direction.
C. Management of the legislature by Mohsen Al-Mandalawi
In the interim, management of the legislature will be overseen by Mohsen Al-Mandalawi, who serves as the First Deputy Speaker. Al-Mandalawi will assume the responsibility of ensuring the functioning of the parliament and maintaining some level of stability during this transitional period.
VIII. Contacting Mohammed al-Halbousi
A. Unavailability for immediate comment
Due to the recent developments and the court ruling, Mohammed al-Halbousi is currently unavailable for immediate comment. It is anticipated that he will address the situation publicly in due course.
IX. Political Shakeup and Upcoming Elections
A. Impact of the court ruling on the political landscape
The court ruling and subsequent fallout have created a significant political shakeup in Iraq. The removal of al-Halbousi and al-Dulaimi from Parliament has disrupted the existing power dynamics and may have far-reaching consequences for the country’s political landscape. The full extent of these impacts remains to be seen.
B. Scheduled provincial elections on Dec. 18
Amidst this period of political uncertainty, Iraq is scheduled to hold provincial elections on December 18. The court ruling and its aftermath have added another layer of complexity to the upcoming elections, making the political environment even more fraught with tension and uncertainty.
In conclusion, the recent ruling by Iraq’s top court to remove the speaker of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi, and a rival lawmaker, Laith al-Dulaimi, from their positions has created a significant political upheaval. The lack of explanation for the court’s decision has fueled disputes and allegations, while the fallout from this ruling has led to resignations, boycotts, and a need to elect a new speaker. The implications of these developments on Iraq’s political landscape and the upcoming elections remain to be seen.