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Iraq’s Protracted Political Process in Motion

Major changes are imminent in the landscape of Middle Eastern politics, and Iraq is going through an important period in its history.  Meanwhile, Iraq’s law makers are busy with the political process and the transfer of power from care takers to the newly elected.  The process is complex and protracted, but nevertheless, the Iraqi Parliament elected Salim Al-Jabouri as a its Speaker and Dr Fouad Masum the new President of Iraq.

Now, after the Sunnis and Kurds elected their candidates for their allocated share of sovereign posts, the ball is now in the Shia’s court to name their candidate for the premiership of Iraq.

From here the new President needs to invite the largest faction in the parliament to form a government. The Supreme Court has decided that State of Law are the largest faction, therefore, Nouri Al-Maliki should be given an opportunity to serve a third term as Prime Minister.  However, the Court’s decision is now disputed by Mr Al-Maliki’s opponents who would not accept his third term in office. Mr Al-Maliki, on the other hand, has given a long list of prohibitive conditions for stepping down. This signals that the process will now become even more protracted. In fact, after the election of Dr Masum as President, the parliament was adjourned until 5th of August.

Thereafter, there are many moor loopholes to be exploited and many procedural steps that will be exhausted by Mr Al-Maliki and his rivals before a new Government will emerge.  Meanwhile, many outstanding crisis and upheavals are waiting to be solved, including the ISIS occupation of Sunni triangle, the Kurdish control over the disputed territories and the KRG-Baghdad tensions over budget and oil.  Can Iraq survive these crisis while politicians remain ill-focused and fragmented? Time will tell.

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About MERI:  The Middle East Research Institute is Iraq’s leading policy-research institute and think tank. It is an independent, entirely grant-funded not-for-profit organisation, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.  Its mission is to contribute to the process of nation-building, state-building and democratisation via engagement, research, analysis and policy debates.

MERI’s main objectives include promoting and developing human rights, good governance, the rule of law and social and economic prosperity. MERI conduct high impact, high quality research (including purpose-based field work) and has published extensively in areas of: human rights, government reform, international politics, national security, ISIS, refugees, IDPs, minority rights (Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabaks, Sabi mandeans), Baghdad-Erbil relations, Hashd Al-Shabi, Peshmarga, violence against women, civil society. MERI engages policy- and decision-makers, the civil society and general public via publication, focused group discussions and conferences (MERI Forum).

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