Power-plays in Iraq's Political Crisis: Constitutional Provisions

By Emily Anagnostos with Patrick Martin

Iraq's political crisis is cresting to a point where the collapse of the government is a distinct possibility. Iraq's political blocs have begun to split, with some members calling for the dissolution of the government and others insistent on replacing the cabinet as part of a protracted cabinet reshuffle process initiated on February 9. Major reforms in the government must be done in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, which lays out how and by whom certain actions may be taken with regard to dismissing the Prime Minister, various Cabinet ministers, the Council of Representatives (CoR), etc.  This week, Iraqi Parliamentarians use the justification of a non-existent “quorum” – a majority of the CoR – to convene an illegal session, dismiss the Speaker of the CoR, and elect a new Speaker.  All this was done under the alleged mantle of Constitutional legitimacy.

The document below examines and excerpts the relevant sections of the Iraqi Constitution related to the powers to dismiss and/or dissolve the various bodies and positions in the Iraqi government.  This information is not intended to be a predictor of what will come nor a guide for action, but rather an information source so that when claims are made about the legality and Constitutionality of certain actions by any actor, you will be able to judge those statements for yourself.

Other ISW resources on the Iraqi political crisis:

Iraq Government Collapse Likely as a Rump Parliament Calls for Resignations
Iraq's Political Crisis: An Interactive Timeline
Warning: Political Crisis in Iraq's Parliament as PM Abadi's Reforms Presented
Warning: Iraq’s Shi’a Parties Split Over Cabinet Reshuffle Amidst Protests