Reidar Visser 13.6.22 – Unprecedented parliamentary chaos emerged in #Iraq over the weekend following the mass resignation of 73 Sadrist MPs, until now the biggest and most coherent bloc in parliament (thread)
For some time, rumours about potential Sadrist resignations had circulated but it was thought to be posturing related to frustration to the slow government formation process. This included presenting letters of resignation to Muqtada al-Sadr, which had zero legal significance.
However, when Sadrist letters of resignation were handed to the parliament speaker on Sun and formally accepted, the whole process assumed new legal dimensions and at least in theory unleashed processes from which it may be more difficult to backtrack
In principle all 73 Sadrist MPs will now be replaced by the second best vote-getter in their constituencies. Since the Sadrist concentrated their vote on a single candidate in many places, the replacement will typically be non-Sadrist and often Fatah, State of Law or independents
Some #Iraqi media are already circulating tentative lists of the potential replacement, again suggesting that the forces in the Coordination Framework and the coalitions of Hadi al-Ameri and Nuri al-Maliki will benefit from the replacement process
Iraqi commentators differ as to the degree to which the resignations are a point of no return. Some point to a clause in the 2007 revision of the 2006 replacement law which mentions an absolute majority vote in the context of resignations, but this relates to pension benefits.
It’s true that the Iraqi constitution art 52 says the Iraqi parliament itself votes on the “correctness of its membership”; however this relates to any objections that might materialise subsequent to a MP replacement, and does not stop the process of replacement as such.
The special majority acceptance requirement for resignations mentioned in the bylaws of the #Iraq parliament apply to the speakership only and would thus only involve one Sadrist.
All in all, the Sadrist mass resignation looks like a risky move, although the willingness of all 73 MPs to potentially jeopardise their positions testifies to an impressive degree of internal loyalty.
Following the Sadrist resignations, the Coordination Framework may be tempted to strengthen their bloc by picking up replacement seats, or they could offer some kind of face-saving government formation fudge in which the Sadrists give in to the oversized cabinet formula again.