The Iraq parliament meets in September. (Reuters)
Wednesday, 27 February, 2019 – 06:45 –
Baghdad – Hamza Mustafa
The countdown has begun for the resumption of parliamentary sessions in Iraq amid ongoing divisions between the rival political powers that has left key portfolios vacant in Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet.
The disputes have hampered parliament work and lawmakers have only been able to ratify one law since being elected to office in May.
Ahead of the resumption of parliament’s regular sessions, the Sairoun coalition, of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and al-Fateh alliance, of Hadi al-Ameri, are set to meet to confirm the agreements they had reached last year in wake of the polls.
An informed Iraqi source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the leaderships are expected to meet later this week.
He revealed that the meetings they had held recently did not enjoy the consensus of their partners, especially the Shiite ones in each of the Reform and Reconstruction bloc, which includes Hikma movement leader Ammar al-Hakim and former Premier Haidar al-Abadi, and the al-Binaa bloc, which includes former PM Nouri al-Maliki.
“The senior Shiite partners, such as Maliki, Abadi and Hakim believe that the Sairoun and Fateh coalitions cannot take unilateral decisions in Iraq,” said the source on condition of anonymity.
Former Minister Wael Abdul Latif told Asharq Al-Awsat that parliament does not boast a constitutional bloc that can name a candidate for the position of prime minister.
Instead, lawmakers completely ignored the constitution when they nominated Abdul Mahdi to his post. He was chosen through consensus, “which is a gimmick that does not exist in the constitution,” he remarked.
Resorting to consensus has effectively obstructed the filling of the vacant government positions and it is impeding government work, he said, noting: “More than 100 days have passed since the cabinet has been formed and nothing tangible has been achieved.”
Fateh MP Naim al-Aboudi rejected Abdul Latif’s claims, saying that the “understanding between his bloc and Sairoun has led to the formation of parliamentary committees that are tasked with completing the cabinet lineup.
He stressed: “The Fateh and Sairoun blocs will shoulder the responsibility of the government’s failure given that it was formed due to the consensus reached between them.”