Tuesday, May 08, 2012

No-confidence vote coming?

As the political crisis in Iraq continues, Al Mada reports that Ayad Allawi, leader of Iraqiya, states they are interested in dialoguing with all who are serious about ending the crisis; however, the chief means to do that is to re-instate the Erbil Agreement and that the issue of the targeting of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi must be resolved as well.  Before we go further, Dar Addustour reports Nouri is again targeting the Independent Electoral Commission, an arrest warrant has been issued for Saad al-Rawi who is one of the commissioners.  Meanwhile things just got more difficult for the White House that never believed in self-determination.  Not only are they working overtime to protect their pet and puppet Nouri al-Maliki, they're also having to work hard to make sure that if their efforts fail and Nouri's replaced, it's not with someone they despise.  Dar Addustour reports that the White House is pulling out all stops to make sure that potential replacements do not include Moqtada al-Sadr or his supporters.  Remember, it was a drawdown, not a withdrawal. 

Al Mada notes that efforts to limit Iraqiya's power continues with the announcement (which should seem familiar, its made every other week) that a number (twenty to twenty five members) of Iraqiya will announce today the formation of their own political slate.  You have to wonder how much US taxpayer money is wasted on this and wasted over and over again?  Al Mada notes Moqtada al-Sadr says the Erbil Agreement must be implemented.  They also reject a proposal State of Law floated last week: a withdrawal of confidnece that would require new elections for parliament which would then elect a prime minister which would then nominate a cabinet -- a process that could take over a year easily and would leave Nouri in power that whole time with no strong checks on him.  The Sadr bloc is stating a no-confidence vote would be on Nouri and, per the Constitution's Article 61, would have nothing to do with other offices. 

Article 61 of the Constitution:

1) The President of the Republic may submit a request to the Council of Representatives to withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister.

2) The Council of Representatives may withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister based on the request of one-fifth of its members. This request shall not be submitted except after an inquiry directed at the Prime Minister and after at least seven days from the date of submitting the request.

3) The Council of Representatives may decide to withdraw confidence from the Prime Minister by an absolute majority of the number of its members.

We're stopping there.  I'm not sure how Article 61 supports the move that its argued to.  Section C would suggest otherwise.  But I haven't studied that aspect so I'll try to read over other aspects and make some calls before this afternoon's snapshot.

Absolute majority means more than half.  There are 325 members of the Parliament.  That would be 163 votes. When Nouri was trying to form a governing majority, even after Moqtada al-Sadr had come on board in October of 2010, Nouri was still four seats short of absolute majority.  If a vote was taken and Nouri could hold State of Law together, he would have 89 votes via his political slate.  The National Iraqi Alliance holds 70 votes.  Their support would be a question mark since they are headed by Ibrahim al-Jaafari who is one of the names Moqtada al-Sadr is floating as the next prime minister should Nouri be ousted.  Iraqiya won the most seats and they have 91 votes. If Iraqiya could keep their bloc together (that includes White Iraqiya and other offshoots) and get all of the National Iraqi Alliance, that's 161 votes right there.  However, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq is part of the National Alliance and the White House has been making generous offers to Amar al-Hakim (leader of ISCI) to buy his support for Nouri.   Though it currently appears al-Hakim is siding with DC, there are long term conflcits between Nouri and Amar al-Hakim (and they go back to the conflicts between Nouri and Amar's father) so his support for Nouri remains a question mark. (Their inabilty to get along is one reason why Nouri formed the State of Law political slate.)  The Kurdistan Alliance is 43 seats.  If the Kurds could pull together (doubtful), all of their seats total would be 57 seats.  (Goran and the Kurdistan Alliance might pull together; however, it's far from likely that the Krudistan Islamic Union, for example, would pool their votes.)

In other news, Al Sumaria reports a Sahwa leader in Diyala Province, Sami al-Khazraji, has revealed his monthly salary has been cut and that was on the orders of Nouri and his Minstry of Reconciliation.  Other Sahwa have been cut by 20% in the province and there are said to be over 7,000 Sahwa in the province with most in Baquba.  Kitabat notes some Iraqi Christians are again calling for an autonomous home in Nineveh.  Though the idea has been a non-starter in the past, if there was a time to press for it, it's probably right now when the issue of a potential no-confidence vote means every vote in Parliament counts.

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