The Iraqi scene opens into political chaos after the removal of Al-Halbousi

The Iraqi scene opens into political chaos after the removal of Al-Halbousi


The Iraqi scene opens into political chaos after the removal of Al-HalbousiBaghdad – The Federal Supreme Court’s decision to remove the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Muhammad al-Halbousi, from his position reshuffles the political cards in a turbulent scene that is struggling to achieve stability, while the forces are preparing to run in the provincial council elections, which are crucial elections that determine and strengthen the positions of influence of party elites.

Iraq is opening up to a state of confusion, political wrangling, and controversy over the constitutionality of the irreversible rule, in addition to the inevitability of electing a new president for the Council and the failure of Al-Halbousi’s deputy, who is a Shiite, to remain in the position due to sectarian sensitivities and his violation of the quota system adopted in the divisions of government.

Al-Halbousi, who was removed from his position, announced on Wednesday his rejection of the Federal Supreme Court’s decision to terminate his parliamentary membership, considering that it is not within the court’s powers to consider the MP’s membership, in parallel with the movements of the political forces to discuss the repercussions of the decision on the scene in general and the upcoming local council elections in particular.

The Federal Supreme Court, which is the highest judicial authority in Iraq, decided to terminate Al-Halbousi’s membership, based on a “forgery” lawsuit filed by Representative Laith Al-Dulaimi. The non-appealable decision was considered an end to the career of one of the most powerful Sunni politicians in Iraq and may set the stage for a struggle over who will succeed him.

Al-Halbousi said during a press conference, “The Federal Court’s duty is to abide by the Constitution and implement its provisions in a way that is not subject to jurisprudence.” He added, “The Federal Court, with its decision – to terminate Al-Halbousi’s membership – violated the constitution, and this is a dangerous matter, as the court has no right to consider the validity of a representative’s membership except after a decision by the House of Representatives.”

The overthrow of Al-Halbousi comes just over a month before the provincial council elections, which were last held ten years ago, while informed sources say it will change the balance of political power.

Observers say that the resignation of the Ministers of Planning, Industry and Culture, which they announced following the termination of Al-Halbousi’s membership, will lead to the destabilization of the government of Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, who took power a year ago with the support of a coalition led by a group of Shiite parties, but which also includes Sunni Muslim Arabs and Kurds.

Al-Halbousi established good relations with the Shiites and Kurds, who helped him win the position of Speaker of Parliament. But he recently lost support within the Iraqi Coordination Framework after he tried to form a government with opponents to members of that coalition after the 2021 parliamentary elections. He eventually joined the Coordination Framework, but its members view him as untrustworthy.
The coordination framework has been seeking for months to remove Al-Halbousi from the presidency of Parliament and replace him with a Sunni figure loyal to her.

Iraqi political affairs researcher Firas Elias considered the decision “part of the policy of exclusion,” saying in a blog post on the “X” platform that “the culture of exclusion is part of the identity of the political system in Iraq:

Al-Halbousi was serving his second term as Speaker of Parliament, a position he held for the first time in 2018. He continued, “The constitution specifies the cases that require termination of membership in Parliament, which are resignation, death, felony, or illness,” stressing, “We are keen to clarify the legal aspect of what happened.” And not the political side.”

The trial began last February before the Federal Supreme Court, after a complaint filed by Al-Dulaimi, who accused the Speaker of Parliament of “forging” the date of a previously submitted resignation request in his name, with the aim of expelling him from Parliament.

The statement published on the court’s official website stated that it “decided to terminate the membership of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Muhammad Rekan Al-Halbousi, as of the date of issuance of the ruling on November 14, 2023.” The court also took a similar decision against MP Laith Mustafa Hamoud Al-Dulaimi, who filed the lawsuit, according to the statement.

Just as Al-Halbousi pointed out that there were irregularities in the decision to terminate his membership, experts say that there were legal violations in the presidency of the Council following the court’s decision.
Legal affairs expert Salem Hawass explained, “The current effective internal regulations of the House of Representatives No. 1 of 2022 stipulate in the provisions of Article 12 thereof that the president must be chosen in the first session after the expiration of his membership, dismissal, resignation, or vacancy of his position, in order to preserve the balances between the political blocs.” “.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mohsen Al-Mandalawi, a Shiite, will assume the presidency of Parliament temporarily until a new president is elected. This position is the highest that a Sunni Muslim can hold according to the Iraqi sectarian political system that was established after the American invasion in 2003.

The expert in legal affairs continued, “The text of the provisions of Article 55 of the Constitution stipulates that the House of Representatives shall elect, in its first session, a president, by an absolute majority of the number of members of the House, by direct secret election, and this Parliament is obligated to elect a new president in a session held for it after the decision of the Federal Court.” “.

Under the system of government in force since the adoption of the constitution in 2005 in the post-Saddam Hussein era, the Prime Minister is a Shiite, the Speaker of Parliament is a Sunni, and the President of the country is a Kurd.

But the sectarian and sensitive nature of governance is often under intense pressure due to competing agendas and the sharing of vast oil wealth between powerful factions, while it has failed to stop the bloodshed or provide basic services to citizens.

Al-Halbousi considered the decision to terminate his membership a “strange” decision, saying, “There are those who seek to fragment social components… In the five years in which we assumed the presidency of Parliament, we worked to reform the past mismanagement, as no house was demolished during this period as happened previously, and no “One person was absent, no one was arrested, and the law was applied.”

Informed sources stated that the dismissal of Al-Halbousi could affect the results of the upcoming elections, as the leaders of the Coordination Framework Alliance are holding consultations among themselves and with Sunni political parties, including the Alliance of Resolve, Sovereignty and Solution, to discuss developments.

The “Sovereignty” coalition, led by Khamis al-Khanjar, called in a statement on Tuesday night for an urgent meeting of representatives of Sunni political forces to deliberate on the next steps, without specifying the steps it intends to take.

The “sovereignty” call came after the “Al-Hal” Party, led by Jamal Al-Karbouli, and the “Al-Azm” Alliance, led by Muthanna Al-Samarrai, announced their support for the court’s decision.

The coordination framework, which includes all Shiite forces except the Sadrist movement, will hold an emergency meeting today, Wednesday, to discuss the latest political developments. While the State of Law coalition and Asaib Ahl al-Haq rejected any talk about postponing the provincial council elections after the boycott of the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, and the deportation of al-Halbousi.

A member of the State of Law coalition, Saad Al-Muttalabi, confirmed that the dismissal of Muhammad Al-Halbousi from his position will not postpone or change the date of the elections, as the date is fixed and there is political confirmation that they will be held next December and that they will not be affected by any internal or external influences.

Al-Muttalabi said, “The dismissal of Al-Halbousi from the position of Speaker of Parliament will not have an impact on the electoral process or the holding of the vote on the scheduled date scheduled for next month.”

He added, “Al-Halbousi can remain head of his bloc, or the bloc may work to change its head, but he cannot run for elections after the charges and ruling issued against him by the Federal Supreme Court.”

He stated that “the provincial council elections are underway and there is no influence or factor that can stop or postpone the date of their holding, and there is confirmation from the head of the State of Law coalition, Nouri al-Maliki, that these elections will be held on the specified date.”

The head of the body of advisors and experts in the Presidency of the Republic stated on Wednesday that the provincial council elections, which will be held on the 18th of next month, will be pivotal for the formation of strong and elected local governments.

Ali Al-Shukri said in a speech at the opening of the conference on the role of the media in promoting participation in elections, “These elections are pivotal and come for the first time after the last elections for irregular governorate councils were held 10 years ago in 2013.”

It appears that there are intense movements to remove Al-Halbousi from the political scene, as MP Basem Khashan intends to file a new lawsuit with the Federal Supreme Court against Al-Halbousi regarding the decision to appoint six advisors who did not meet the legal requirements.

Khashan said in a post on Twitter on Wednesday that the decision to terminate Muhammad al-Halbousi’s membership was issued by the Federal Court, contrary to the political agreements between the parties that wanted the situation to remain as it is, adding that “this is decisive evidence of the independence of the Federal Supreme Court.”

The representative expressed his thanks to the Federal Court for terminating the membership of the Speaker of the Council, “who violated the Constitution, falsified the resignation of an elected representative, and falsified the will of the Council over and over again.”

It is noteworthy that last March, independent representatives, with Sunni and Kurdish support, began procedures aimed at removing Al-Halbousi from the presidency of Parliament, after Parliament approved the election law, which is believed to serve the large parties at the expense of smaller parties, re-marginalize the independent representatives, and establish the dominance of the parliamentary blocs of the parties that have dominated the government since. Nearly two decades.

Al-Sudani, in turn, wants to remove some of the ministers affiliated with Al-Halbousi, according to observers, as this hostility comes due to the latter’s adherence to the agreement that established the current government formation.

The agreement includes securing a fair share for Sunni provinces in the federal budget and amending policies related to the return of displaced persons and anti-terrorism laws that led to abuses in Sunni areas.