As votes from May's elections are set for a recount, Iraq's parliament is at risk of entering into a constitutional vacuum with the current government's tenure set to end at the end of the month
Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri announced on Thursday that the manual recount of votes would begin next week.
Last month, the Iraqi parliament approved manual recounting of a number of ballot boxes in the May 12 parliamentary election amid allegations of fraud, forgery and irregularities.
Due to lack of constitutional quorum, the parliament failed to hold its last session on Thursday, which was allocated to vote on the fourth amendment to the election law, two days before the end of its term.
Addressing reporters during a news conference held before the session, the speaker noted that the parliament’s term would end Saturday unless lawmakers vote to extend it.
“If Parliament did not vote on the fourth amendment to the elections, its term will end on Saturday,” he said.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, MP Awatef Neemeh of the State of Law coalition said that Thursday’s session failed to meet quorum because of the position expressed by the majority of the political blocs to reject the extension of Parliament’s term.
Neemeh, a member of parliament who lost the elections in the province of Basra, noted that if Parliament convened before the end of its term, the session would focus on a nationwide manual recount of votes, instead of a partial recount.
The outgoing Parliament passed a law mandating a manual recount of votes at the national level, but the competent panel of judges ordered it would only be conducted for controversial ballots flagged in official reports or formal complaints.
In the same context, two Iraqi legal experts agreed in two separate statements to Asharq Al-Awsat that the extension was not permissible for even one day.
Legal Expert Tarek Harb said: “The idea of extension is contrary to the constitution, which we have said repeatedly. But we found insistence for political reasons.”
Legal Adviser Ahmed Abbadi, confirms for his part that the extension efforts were unconstitutional as Article 56 of the Constitution set the age of parliament at four calendar years.