Monday, January 14, 2013

Facing more criticism, Nouri reportedly considers dissolving Parliament

Nouri's getting criticism from all over.  The Iraq Times notes that France's Trotskyite Communist Commission has issued a statement condemning Nouri's efforts to divide Iraqis in an attempt to continue his authoritarian rule.    Over the weekend, Kitabat reports, Najaf's Sheikh Mohammed al-Yacoubi called out the government for its failure to provide the Iraqi people with basic services and for neglecting its duties.  Following a meeting with cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday, the Sheikh issued a statement noting that the government needs to be listening to the demands of the people.  All Iraq News notes that Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement today calling on Nouri to listen to the protesters demands and also noting the need to resolve the issue of the presidency.  Alsumaria adds that al-Sadr fears a dictatorship if the issue of the presidency isn't resolved soon.  (President Jalal Talabani is in Germany recovering from a stroke.) There's criticism from Parliament as well.  Reuters notes, "Osama Al Nujaifi, parliament speaker and the most senior elected Sunni figure, said Al Maliki should pass a draft amnesty law to free detainees jailed on terrorism charges and modify laws that many Sunnis say are used to target them unfairly. Protesters also want to end a campaign against members of Saddam Hussain’s outlawed Ba’ath party that Sunnis fear is used to harass their leaders and sideline them from politics."

Political blocs are meeting to discuss the government's problems.   Aswat al-Iraq reports, "Chairmen of National Alliance and Iraqiya Parliamentary Bloc stressed necessity to have a new political initiative to preserve Iraqi unity, calling to implement Iraqi protestors' demands and to expel all tensions between the parliament and the government.  Ibraheem Jaffari of the National Alliance and Salman al-Jumaaily of Iraqiya bloc discussed Iraqi political scene and the demonstrations witnessed by Iraqi provinces." Even Nouri's sometime friend Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, is getting in on it.  All Iraq News notes that al-Hakim called a meeting with the National Coalition and they agreed that the crises in Iraq needed to be resolved, that they should entertain proposals from Ahmed Chalabi's National Congress Party and they praised Moqtada al-Sadr while demanding Nouri's government start implementing the laws Parliament is passing.

Aswat al-Iraq reports, Press Freedom Defence Association announced completing the first amendment to Journalists' Rights Law."  Nouri's State of Law continues to throw up roadblocks.  Alsumaria notes that they demanded the vote on the Federal Court Act be postponed today.  All Iraq News notes that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi has decided that Minister of Youth and Sports Jassim Mohammed Jaafar will be questioned in absentia if he cannot appear before the Parliament in one week  after he refused last week to attend a hearing.  There are rumors of vast corruption in the Ministry.  Jaafar was an MP State of Law named following the March 2010 elections.   Today, the bill on the presidencies (limiting all to two terms -- not just the President of Iraq but also the Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament) was to be read again.

In other news of Parliament, Kitabat reported yesterday on new rumors that Nouri was planning to dissolve the Parliament.  Supposedly, State of Law has addressed this plan with several Shi'ite blocs in the National Alliance but not Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc.  Al Mada today reports on the Sadr bloc's response to these rumors: Nouri would not dare dissolve Parliament.  Supposedly, the rumors go, Nouri's decided he can seize the presidency if he dissolves the Parliament.  It's not clear -- depending on which rumor is being covered -- how but there are two arguments being put forward.  In one, Nouri dissolves the Parliament and oversees everything claiming he is the only legitimate figure.  In the other, Nouri dissolves the Parliament with the intent of new elections; however, when elections do take place, Nouri now holds the position of Prime Minister and President, he consolidates the two.  There's nothing in the Constitution that gives him the right to grab the position.  But that's never stopped him before.
The Sadr bloc may be sure Nouri wouldn't do such a thing, but, based on his past record, who's to say?  Al Mada reports that the Kurdistan Alliance and Iraqiya are stating they no longer trust Nouri and are asking that the United Nations sit in on any political dialogue.

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