Iraq parliament ordered to get back to work

Iraq’s Supreme Court has
ordered the country’s parliament back to work, more than seven months after
inconclusive elections left Iraq in political limbo.

The court said lawmakers’
self-declared absence was unconstitutional.

Iraq has faced political
deadlock since the 7 March elections, when a bloc led by former Prime Minister
Iyad Allawi emerged with a slender advantage.

Neither he nor current PM
Nouri Maliki has since formed a coalition, and parliament has met for just 20
minutes.

At that meeting, in June,
lawmakers were sworn in and then decided to delay the formal return of
parliament in order to give political leaders time to negotiate alliances.

However, progress has since
been slow and Iraq now holds the world record for the longest time without a
government.

In a judgment, the Supreme
Court said it had decided to cancel the decision to delay parliament’s return,
and to require a parliamentary speaker to call on lawmakers to convene
parliament and resume work.

A leading Iraqi
constitutional lawyer told the BBC that the court’s decision was a formality
that would do nothing to break the political deadlock holding up the formation
of a new government, the BBC’s Jim Muir reports from Baghdad.

However, parliament will not
elect a speaker and other officers until the final composition of a government
is decided upon.

Those positions will depend
on the broader political carve-up of top jobs, especially the prime minister
and president of the republic, our correspondent says.

However, the court’s decision
does reflect rising public and even political anger at the failure to produce a
new government, Jim Muir adds.

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