Friday, May 02, 2014

The prime minister, the president, the violence

Iraqis voted Wednesday and a topic popping up in Arabic social media is Nouri's age: 63.

It's being noted how Iraq is a country with a young population (a little over half of the population is 21 or under) and suggested that they need a younger prime minister.  It's noted  that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is 40-years old and Ammar al-Hakim is 43.  (I don't know that Ammar is 43.  He either is now or will be by the end of the year, I don't the month he was born in or the day.  But it was stated -- repeatedly -- that he was 43.)

Nouri's a bit long in the tooth for social media which seems to feel that the choice for the next prime minister of Iraq boils down to either Moqtada or Ammar.

Al Manar carries a story on Nouri and the elections which includes, "The premier insisted he was willing to give up the post if he was unable to form a government, saying: 'My mother did not give birth to me as a minister or a prime minister'."

He's never formed a government.  He went through his second term with the security ministries headless, never even nominated anyone to fill them.  That's in violation the Constitution.

Here's how the Constitution says it works.  The President names someone prime minister-designate and that person then has 30 days to form a Cabinet.

That means nominating people and get Parliament to vote them in.

Failure to do so indicates that the designate either isn't working hard enough or lacks support.  This is how a weak candidate is supposed to be weeded out.

But the 30 days was waived for Nouri -- as was the requirement that he form a Cabinet.

So that takes care of the current prime minister debate, let's move over to the issue of the president.

As we noted in Wednesday's snapshot:

A lot is at stake in these elections.  For one thing, Iraq will need to find a new president.
That's not open to debate.
December 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.
Obviously, health issues prevent him from continuing as prime minister.  So does the Iraqi Constitution -- Jalal has termed out of office.
So one thing the new Parliament will have to do is pick a president -- a new president.

Today, AFP notes, "Iraqi Kurds face uncertainty over whether they will retain the presidency, an important symbol after decades of central government oppression and a link between their autonomous region and Baghdad."

'Custom' may have made Jalal president twice but the Constitution didn't.

There's nothing in there which declares, "And the presidency shall go to a Kurd."

In his first term, Jalal announced he wouldn't seek a second term.  But, of course, he did.  At one point, in 2010, the US government was attempting to get Jalal to seek another post so that Ayad Allawi could be named president (Allawi's bloc won the 2010 elections, besting every other group).  Jalal did not politely decline.  He exploded over the phone as only Jalal can.

Turning to some of today's violence, National Iraqi News Agency notes a Rutbah sticky bombing claimed 2 lives, 2 Yazidis were shot dead in Sinjar, a Mosul roadside bombing left three members of the police injured, and a Samarra suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of Colonel Amer Najim Abdullah "and two of his colleagues."

The following community sites -- plus Jake Tapper, Susan's On the Edge,, Pacifica Evening News and Dissident Voice -- updated:


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