Independent Institutions in Iraq
The Iraq Federal Supreme Court (FSC), following a petition by Prime Minister Maliki’s office, has just ruled that independent commissions such as the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and the Central Bank of Iraq are to be attached to the executive branch.
Ambiguities in Iraq’s Constitution
Last week I participated in a fascinating conference hosted by the National Constitution Center and University of Pennsylvania Law School that waded neck deep into Iraqi constitutionalism, and federalism in particular. I argued that among the problems with the federal framework established by the Iraq Constitution is that it is both ambiguous and internally inconsistent to the point where there are now at least three widely held competing views of the powers and authority of Iraq’s fifteen provinces (all of Iraq except the Kurdistan region).
Government Formation and Iraq’s Constitution
If reports of a breakthrough in formation of a new Iraqi government are to believed (a questionable proposition), it is worth noting two ways Iraq’s Constitution has been implicated in the unmitigated disaster that has been the failure to form a government almost seven months after Iraq’s parliamentary elections.
Iraqi constitutional failure and external enforcement?
A couple years ago, my co-authors and I published an examination of constitutions drafted under foreign Occupation. We wanted to ask whether constitutions drafted under such circumstances differ in quality and endurance from other constitutions (the answers were generally not). But we also identified a theoretical problem with such constitutions.
The Iraq Judiary: A Correction and Apology
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.
Iraq’s Bush v. Gore?
A Special Iraqi Electoral Court today waded even deeper into political and electoral waters, ordering a partial recount of votes cast in last month’s parliamentary election. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/world/middleeast/20iraq.html?hp In so doing the court upset the Independent Higher Electoral Commission’s certification of the results and has played right into the hands of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, who seems to be pulling out all the stops to win a plurality of seats in Parliament.
A Step Backwards for the Iraq Judiciary
The Iraq judiciary has made great strides in its capacity and independence since the fall of the Saddam regime, as demonstrated by brave and politically unpopular decisions made in the name of fair and impartial adjudication. In 2008 the Iraq Supreme Court vacated the Council of Representative’s decision to strip a parliamentarian’s immunity so he could be prosecuted for traveling to Israel.
Addendum to Iraq’s Election Quandary
The Speaker of Iraq’s Parliament acknowledge today the inevitability of a “constitutional and legislative vacuum” as a result of the unavoidable gap between the end of the current Parliament’s legislative term and the time before elections can be conducted and a new Parliament and government formed — about two months by the Speaker’s estimation.
The Election Law Passed But Iraq Still Stands To Miss a Constitutional Dead Line
The impasse over Iraq’s election law has now caused United Nations officials to publicly admit what many have feared for weeks — Iraq is going to miss its constitutionally mandated deadline for parliamentary elections. Delays this past summer and fall were do to two key disagreements among Iraqi law-makers: (1) whether to have open or closed list voting; and (2) how to deal with Iraq’s disputed territory of Kirkuk.
Ethics for constitutional advisors?
This mornings NY Times reports that Peter Galbraith, advisor to the Kurdish government, was negotiating oil deals on his own behalf while helping to influence Iraq’s constitution-making process. The scale of Galbraith’s prospective gains, upwards of $100 million, are shocking. It is not clear that he had a conflict of interest with regard to Kurdish nationalists, but one would think that his financial interest should have been disclosed to Iraqi constitution-makers who might otherwise take his advice as being motivated by considerations of reason.