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Iraq enters constitutional vacuum

The Iraqi flag is seen in Mosul after the city was freed from Daesh 9 July 2017 [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]
The Iraqi flag [Yunus Keleş/Anadolu Agency]

After Parliament failed several times this year to elect a new president, Iraq has entered a constitutional vacuum.

These events led to the end of the constitutional deadline set by the Federal Supreme Court on 6 April.

This required the court to resort to legal jurisprudence and issue a decision to continue the term of current President Barham Salih until a new president is elected.

Since its first session on 9 February, Parliament has been unable to elect a president from 40 candidates led by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) candidate, the current president, Barham Salih, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party's candidate, Rebar Ahmed.

Iraqi Parliament failed twice during the past week to hold a session to elect the president of the republic because the required quorum of two-thirds of the 329 MPs had not been met.

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The tripartite Alliance to Save the Homeland, consisting of the Sadrist Movement, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Sunni Alliance, which is calling for the formation of a national majority government, failed to mobilise the largest number of votes to meet the required threshold.

On the other hand, the Coordination Framework that boycotted the sessions is an alliance that calls for a consensus government. It comprises Shia forces, most notably the State of Law Coalition and Al-Fateh. It does not support the tripartite alliance and has joined what is called the "blocking third" to prevent the passing of the inauguration of the president.

Iraq entered a constitutional vacuum after the deadline set by the Federal Court expired last March. Meanwhile, the court opened the door for candidacy for the position of the president of the republic before the Presidency of the House of Representatives for a period of 30 days in accordance with Article 72/2 of the Iraqi Constitution. According to Iraqi news agency INA, this 30-day period is from 6 March to 6 April, during which the president of the republic will be elected.

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