Disagreements over the nature of parliamentary privileges have for now been put to one side as Iraq's President, Fuad Masum, reveals the new budget.
SULAIMANI — As controversy continues over Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s objection to the new law governing the privileges of members of parliament, the Office of the Presidency of the Republic has revealed its budget and a count of its employees.
The head of the legal department of the Office of the President of the Republic, Monif Hawass, said in a press release published on Friday (July 27) that “the number of employees of the Presidency of the Republic is 1,068, while its budget is $46 million USD [54.9 billion Iraqi dinars].”
He added that “the media did not do justice to the Presidency of the Republic and did not investigate the truth about the adoption of the law [regarding parliamentary privileges] by the House of Representatives,” he said, explaining that “after examining the law, we established 20 investigations and ordered President Fuad Masum to return it to the House of Representatives.”
Parliament did not amend the law and, while the law is not contrary to the Constitution, “the President of the Republic did not sign it. It was then passed under a legislative mechanism.”
Hawass pointed out that “the law has many mistakes and the special privilege for the deputies in the House of Representatives are different from those of the rest of the employees of the Iraqi state. Members of Parliament are eligible for pension regardless of service or age, while employees of the office of the Presidency of the Republic only get a pension after 15 years of service.”
He also disclosed that pension payment had been suspended for former President Ghazi al-Yawar under the unified pension law for 2014. Yawar was interim President of Iraq from 2004 to 2006, when he was succeeded by Jalal Talabani.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on July 20 that he had rejected of the law on the privileges of deputies that had been approved by parliament, saying that the law has financial implications. He did, however, leave the door open for an appeal.
Legal expert Tariq Harb pointed out on July 18 that the Parliament had passed the law months ago [in March], but was only published in the Official Gazette on July 16.