Some members in the Iraqi Council of Representative are seeking to pass legislation which extends their term in parliament until the recount process is over. The extension proposal has caused a lot of debate amongst politicians and parliamentarians.
Informed sources said that the Council of Representatives is seeking to extend the legislative term of parliament just two days in order to pass the amended election law and oversee the manual recount of election returns.
According to reports in Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday (June 27), parliament is scheduled to continue its extraordinary session tomorrow to vote on the amendment proposal, which includes a provision that “the Council of Representatives continues to work until the ratification of the results elections, held on May 12, by the Federal Supreme Court.”
The Council of Representatives is scheduled to meet on Thursday, amid objections from political and legal figures on the legitimacy of extending its term. President of the Islamic Supreme Council and Vice Speaker Hamam Hamoudi said yesterday that this “a dangerous precedent and a clear violation of the Constitution will have its negative effects on the overall political situation.”
The head of the Islamic Virtue Party, Ammar Tohma, believed that parliament would lack a quorum at the meeting on Thursday and, therefore, would not successful in voting on the fourth amendment.
Asharq Al-Awsat quoted Tohma as saying that he doubted whether there would be, “the quorum necessary to pass the fourth amendment because there are strong objections from deputies who voted in favor of the third amendment, but do not find [enough] justification to extend the life of parliament,” adding that “the explicit provisions of the Constitution and the decisions of the Federal Court prevents the continuation of the mandate of parliament for more than four calendar years.”
“Article 56 of the Constitution stipulates that the electoral cycle of the Chamber of Deputies shall be four calendar years beginning with the first session and ending at the end of the fourth year. The first session of the current parliament was held on July 1, 2014. The end of the fourth calendar year of June 30, 2018 represents the end of the mandate of parliament for the current electoral cycle,” he said.
He ruled out the possibility of the Council voting on the new amendment as it “establishes a dangerous phenomenon leading to a kind of dictatorship and tyranny and the debate on the fourth amendment is preliminary and relates to the idea of extension, while the debate and vote on the third amendment related to the details and parts about counting operations.”
Kurdistan Islamic Group MP Zana Said, that “the fourth draft amendment will be passed on Thursday because the atmosphere in the parliament [is supportive] and the quorum necessary for the vote will be there,” but that “there is a belief in Parliament that the [manual recount] will take a long time. Appropriate legislative power will not exist during this period and the executive branch is left out of control.”
“In previous elections, the parliamentary session did not end before the results were announced, so there was no need for an extension. The matter is reversed in this session, so there are those who see the need to maintain the balance between implementation and legislation over the extension of the term,” he said.
Winning candidate from the Muttahidoon party Nahida Daini confirmed the possibility of passing the fourth amendment to the law of elections in a session on Thursday, and said, “I do not expect the completion of the quorum of Thursday’s session. There is fear of constitutional vacuum and things are almost settled after the Federal Court’s last decision on [manual recounting].”