On these days, 15 years ago, a popular referendum was held on the new Iraqi constitution, which consists of 144 articles. Approximately 58% of the Iraqis voted on it, and the results came by the Independent High Electoral Commission on October 25, 2005 with the approval of 79% of the voters. Amidst a major political controversy that continues.
After 4 parliamentary elections that the country has witnessed since its approval, many politicians and experts point out that the constitution has become the political dilemma that has caused and still many legal pitfalls and loopholes, which raises many questions about the possibility of amending it, especially in light of the presence of a parliamentary committee concerned with this matter.
The head of the Political Thinking Center, Ihssan Al-Shammari, believes that the constitution, since its birth, was a crisis between the political blocs, as they all worked to put their interests in the texts of the constitution, which led to the birth of a “fragile” constitution.
Al-Shammari adds to Al-Jazeera Net that the political class’s failure to adopt the constitution as a reference and ruler of differences has greatly damaged the political process, as, years after its approval, he is exposed to criticism even from the parties that contributed to it.
The majority of the political blocs agree that the Iraqi constitution, after 15 years, needs to be amended, as Rashid Al-Azzawi, a deputy from the Iraqi Forces Alliance and a member of the Legal Committee and the Constitution Amendment Committee, says that he needs a lot of amendment, especially after the major violations of its articles and their interpretation other than the way they were legislated for.
Al-Azzawi gives an example of this in that the Sunni governorates, when trying to establish regions, met with great political rejection, despite the fact that Article 119 stipulates that any governorate is allowed to form a new region if a third of its local council members submit a request to do so.
Al-Azzawi also believes in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net that the constituent balance in the state’s administrative and security institutions has not been applied in reality, commenting that “there are many pitfalls such as Article 76 and what is related to the parliamentary bloc that forms governments after the elections, as the Federal Court fatwa was contrary to the text of the constitution And it ruled in 2010 in favor of the State of Law coalition, which won 89 parliamentary seats, at a time when the Iraqiya coalition won 91 seats, which is what Iraq suffers from so far.
As for the head of the Christian Rafidain Bloc, a member of the Constitutional Amendments Committee, Yonadam Kanna, he told Al-Jazeera Net that there are other problems represented by more than 50 articles that need to be modified or explained, among them the debate over whether the system of government will remain parliamentary or convert to presidential, as well as the authorities and powers and oppose them Between the center and the region in Article 115, in addition to Article 140 for the disputed areas between Baghdad and the Kurdistan region.
The problematic of Article 140
Despite the agreement of the majority of the political blocs on the need to amend it, the devil – as it is said – lies in the details. The Fatah Alliance believes that no real reforms can be achieved in the country unless the constitution is amended, which is confirmed by the deputy from the “Sadikon” bloc (within the coalition Al-Fateh) Na`im Al-Aboudi, as he says that “there are many mines in it and they are the seed of disagreements and conflicts, and that the political process will remain unstable under the current constitution.”
Al-Aboudi added to Al-Jazeera Net that some political blocs believe that the constitution guaranteed them some rights and they cannot be waived, especially with regard to the region and Article 140 of the disputed areas between Baghdad and Erbil, where this article is still controversial.
By going to the Kurdish bloc, she confirms, in the words of Representative Vian Sabri – who is a member of the Constitutional Amendments Committee – that despite the controversial articles, the Iraqi constitution is the best in the Middle East region, especially with regard to articles of rights and freedoms, noting that the main dilemma lies in the lack of The application of nearly 57 articles, especially Article 140 in which the Kurds claim the disputed areas in the governorates of Nineveh, Salah al-Din, Kirkuk and Diyala.
Obstacles to adjust it
A full year has passed since the formation of the Constitutional Amendments Committee, but the political blocs supporting the amendment see that it is not an easy matter now, as returning to Rashid Al-Azzawi, he confirms that the real dilemma lies in the political and sectarian differences in the country, believing that Iraq will not witness a constitutional amendment in the absence of a parliament Be more representative of the components of the people and more equitable.
This proposal is supported by the legal expert, Tariq Harb, in his disclosure that the four parliamentary sessions witnessed the formation of similar committees, and that all of them completed their work. However, the amendments did not provide a basis for the Presidency of the Council of Representatives to vote on them, and therefore were not put to a popular referendum.
Harb adds to Al-Jazeera Net that in constitutional terms, if according to Article 142, the committee is supposed to finish its work 4 months after holding the first parliamentary session in 2006, in addition to that the constitution also stipulates that the government is obligated to find a solution for the disputed areas by December 31. The first 2007 However, the big and serious differences between the blocs prevented and still is, and the fate of this committee is like its predecessors.
Returning to the Christian bloc, where Yonadam Kanna believes that in light of the current political division, the amendments adopted by his committee will not see the light as is the case in previous committees, in addition to the fact that the constitution stipulates in its Article 142-fourth that the First Amendment requires that two thirds not be rejected Voters in 3 provinces to pass, and thus it is difficult to achieve this quorum.
Vian Sabri reveals another legal problem in the work of the amendments committee, as the constitutional article for the work of the committee is limited to only 4 months from the date of its formation, noting that a full year has passed since the formation of the committee, which requires a legal opinion from the Federal Supreme Court, which is currently suspended due to the absence of A law clarifies how to compensate its deceased and retired members, and thus this is another constitutional dilemma, she said.
As for the expert in constitutional law, Amir Al-Da’ami, he believes that the constitution was written in a hurry, and therefore the result was the ambiguity of many of its articles.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Daami said that he believes that the constitution will not be amended, and that the reasons are “crippling conditions in the constitution itself, in addition to the current constitutional amendments committee that came as a parliamentary attempt to absorb the anger of the demonstrators.”
He concluded his speech by noting that there is no political seriousness to amend the constitution, likening the political blocs to “parasites” that live on crises and which have no interest in political stability in the country, as well as that the current political and economic situation does not allow technically and logistically the amendment.
Ihssan Al-Shammari adds another reason to the inability to amend the constitution soon, as there are only a few months left of the current parliamentary session until the early legislative elections, in addition to that any actual amendment requires real political change in the country, describing the demands of some blocs to transform the regime. From parliamentary to presidential by “forward escape maneuvers,” noting that the problem is not related to the system as much as it is related to the political class that did not enact many laws that were capable of solving the country’s problems.