Iraqis file case to break political deadlock

Aug 16th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Featured

BAGHDAD (AFP) — A dozen civic groups launched an audacious court action on Monday in a bid to break Iraq’s deadlock over the formation of a new government, five months after a general election.

The legal appeal to Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court is the latest sign of growing popular discontent with political elites in a violence-wracked country where basic services and infrastructure remain weak and dilapidated.

The charities and pressure groups brought the case against caretaker parliament speaker Fuad Massum, accusing him of violating the constitution by leaving the Iraqi Council of Representatives’ first session open, with no progress on the election of a new speaker.

That, they allege, has blocked the election of a new national president and prime minister.

“We call on the Federal Court to require the defendant … to end the open session as it violates the constitution … or call on the Federal Court to dissolve the Council of Representatives and carry out new elections,” the groups said in a news release.

Iraq’s four main political blocs, none of which holds a parliamentary majority, have made little progress in forming a governing coalition in the months since the March 7 poll.

Ex-premier Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc narrowly won the election with 91 seats in the 325-member parliament, followed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law Alliance with 89.

While the constitution stipulates that a speaker, president and prime minister must be elected in that order, analysts note the posts will likely be decided on jointly by Iraq’s main political groups as part of a grand bargain.

Massum, who holds his post by virtue of being parliament’s oldest lawmaker, conceded that leaving parliament’s first session open “was a violation of the constitution, and … I will stand before the court to defend my stance, and I will accept any ruling the court will make.”

© 2010 AFP

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