There are fears of entering the country into a constitutional vacuum, as Iraq’s constitution stipulates the necessity of electing the country’s president within 30 days of the vote on the speaker of parliament, which took place on January 9.
The presidency of the Iraqi parliament had set February 7 as the date for the session to elect the president of the country, but the head of the Sadrist bloc in the parliament, Representative Hassan al-Adhari, said, during a press conference, that by order of the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, it was decided to boycott the session to elect the president of the republic and freeze negotiations. with the political blocs regarding the formation of the government.
Al-Sadr has 163 deputies after his alliance with the “Progress”, “Azm” and “Kurdistan Democratic Alliance” blocs, which means the inability to elect the president of the country if they decide to boycott collectively, as the quorum of the session requires 210 deputies out of a total of 329 deputies.
The Iraqi analyst, Hashem Abdul-Karim, said that the decision of the Federal Court put everyone in trouble after stipulating that two-thirds of parliament members must attend, which means that choosing the president must happen by consensus because neither of the two alliances has this number of votes alone.
Abdul Karim added to “Sky News Arabia” that the court’s decision encouraged the forces of the “coordinating framework” to play the role of the “blocking third” and threaten to withdraw from the session, which prompted Al-Sadr to take the initiative and not wait for the second party to confuse the session.
He pointed out that al-Sadr’s decision means, in any case, that he was not persuaded to retract that it has become difficult to resolve the position of president, whether for Zebari or Barham Salih, which means entering a phase of a constitutional vacuum.
A member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Tariq Jawhar, said that “Iraq is currently living in a phase of political obstruction that will only be resolved through negotiations, after the Federal Court’s decision regarding the presidential election session and the announcement of the Sadrist bloc not to participate in it,” ruling out the quorum to hold the session.
Jawhar added, in statements carried by the Iraqi News Agency, that “the issue of naming positions is not only related to the union, but is part of the political process that is supposed to be agreed upon on drawing its map between the political forces representing the Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni components.”
He explained that “there is a deepening of differences, whether in the Shiite or Kurdish house, and the process began with the election of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his two deputies, and the President of the Republic is supposed to be elected on the seventh or eighth of this February, before assigning him to a candidate for prime minister to form a new government within 30 days.”
He pointed out that “there is a current political blockage and pressure on the blocs and brothers in the Sadrist movement reached a conviction not to participate in the session to nominate the President of the Republic and suspend negotiations, and personally we imagine that they opened the door to a serious dialogue between the main political forces, whether between the Patriotic Union and the Kurdistan Democratic Party or the current and the framework coordination”.
Fears of a quorum
He pointed out that “the Federal Court stressed that the vote in the presidential election session must have a quorum of two-thirds of the total number of members of the House of Representatives, and this created a new atmosphere for the political process, and if the session was boycotted by a portion exceeding one-third, it will not be held.”
Jawhar considered obtaining a quorum in the next session, noting that “the current reliance will be on negotiations to reach compromise solutions or a breakthrough that ends the political blockage.”
He stressed that “the National Union adheres to its candidate, Barham Salih, and the objections to the Democratic candidate, Hoshyar Zebari, were expressed by blocs and there are 23 other candidates for the position, and we believe that the chances of the Union candidate still exist.”
He added, “We do not believe that one of the candidates, whether Saleh or Zebari, will win in the first round, but we are likely to win our candidate in the second round, which requires the votes of half of those present for the session, not two-thirds of parliament members as in the first round.”
The chest is not alone
In turn, the representative of the Sovereignty Alliance, Mishaan al-Jubouri, said in a tweet on Twitter, “After the sudden decision of his bloc not to participate in the presidential election session, it is likely that the “Sovereignty” and “Kurdistan Democratic” blocs will not attend the session and thus will not be achieved. It has a quorum, and we will enter an unprecedented constitutional vacuum!”
The Sovereignty Alliance is made up of the alliances “Progress” led by Parliament Speaker, Muhammad al-Halbousi, and “Azm” led by businessman, Khamis al-Khanjar.
For his part, a member of the “Sovereignty” coalition, Muhammad al-Karbouli, said in a tweet on Twitter, “Al-Sadr’s boycott of the presidential nomination session may come within accounts related to setting new rules and perhaps new alliances in which the rules of the political process will change.”
Meanwhile, local media quoted Ali Al-Fatlawi, a member of the “Coordination Framework”, that “the Sadrist bloc’s boycott of the parliament session devoted to voting on the new President of the Republic does not affect the course of the session’s work, considering that it is possible to proceed with the session, especially with the presence of more from 250 deputies from other than the Sadrist bloc.
And he indicated that “the negotiations in the coming hours may witness the existence of new agreements between the political parties, away from the Sadrist bloc, and that is why the President of the Republic’s passage will most likely be next Monday, even if the Sadrist bloc insists on boycotting the session.”