Iraqis file case to break post-poll political deadlock

Last Updated: Monday, August 16, 2010 - 21:05

Baghdad: A dozen civic groups launched an
audacious court action today 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

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."


First Published: Monday, August 16, 2010 - 21:05

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