I feel compelled to update my March 31 post about the Iraq Federal Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the meaning of “largest Council of Representatives bloc” in Article 76 of the Iraq Constitution. I maligned the Court for ruling that the phrase referred to post-election coalitions (multiple party lists that come together to form a government) rather than the party lists considered separately. Considered separately, Allawi’s Iraqqiya list, which won the most parliamentary seats in the March election, would enjoy first crack at forming a government. Under the new ruling Prime Minister Maliki’s State of Law list could join forces with another list (for example the Kurdish Alliance or the predominantly Shia INA), thereby constituting the “largest Council of Representatives bloc” to enjoy this privilege. I posited that the Court had succumbed to political pressure from the Prime Minister.
No doubt the Prime Minister was politically motivated when he took the matter to the Federal Supreme Court. That said, today I had the opportunity to discuss Article 76 with an Iraqi who in 2005 was a prominent member of the committee that drafted the Constitution. This individual is not politically aligned with either Maliki or Allawi, and if he had his way Maliki would not be the next Prime Minister. He contends the Court’s ruling is consistent with the drafters’ original intent. When I pointed out how this reading could be seen as contravening the will of the people he responded that it was so drafted so smaller parties that would likely never win a plurality of seats might still be key players (“king makers”) in the government. I have no reason to doubt his account of the historical record.
I apologize for any mischaracterizations in the March 31 post.