The Supreme Federal Court ended the debate on the elections and issued on 21 May a decisive and binding provision for all authorities which provides for the Constitutionality of most articles of the third amendment to the Election Law issued by the Iraqi Council of Representatives on May 6, that is to accept that judges from the Supreme Judicial Council to replace the Independent Electoral Commission and carry out its tasks. And the acceptance of the re-counting and manual counting of the votes of voters in all electoral centers throughout Iraq, considering that a regulatory procedure for the general election process and it does not violate the provisions of the Constitution. But it objected to the article on the cancellation of the results of the elections abroad for all governorates, the elections of the population movement of the provinces of Anbar, Salahuddin, Nineveh and Diyala, and the elections of displaced persons in the camps, conditional voting elections and special voting elections in the Kurdistan region.
The court found that the absolute cancellation of these results constitutes a waste of voters’ votes and an expropriation of the will of the voters which it contradicts the provisions of the constitution that guaranteed the citizen the right to equality and the right to vote. Thus, the court’s decision is the closest thing to a process of appeasing all the conflicting political parties on the election results, paving the way for a political settlement of the crisis, which is likely to be urgently required by internal and external parties interested in the Iraqi situation and to calm it in order to preserve its influence and interests in Iraq. By the Court’s judgment, the crisis of “electoral appeals” has been closed by obliging all political and executive parties to be abide by the judgment and act under it. According to legal adviser to the Supreme Judicial Council, Ahmed Abdul Rahman al-Obeidi, “the results previously announced on the basis of electronic counting and sorting are canceled and not recognized.” By its judgment, the Federal Court ended the crisis of fraud and manipulation of the results of the Iraqi elections.
Iraqi political forces welcomed and expressed its commitment to the decision of the Federal Court in Iraq to re-count the votes of the voters in the parliamentary elections manually by Iraqi judges noting that the Speaker of the House of Representatives Salim al-Jubouri welcomed, on Thursday, the decision of the Federal Court on the amendment of the election law, stressing the respect of Parliament for all decisions of the Iraqi judiciary. In a press statement [where] a copy of it received by Iraqi agency today stated that “Parliament succeeded in consolidating the foundations of democracy in the country by the amendment of results of elections according to constitutional and legal mechanism and evaluated the position of the judiciary saying “The Iraqi judiciary has once again proved its integrity and impartiality, either by responding to appeals submitted to it or other files that affect the security and sovereignty of the country.” Hussein al-Adly , spokesman for the al-Nasir coalition led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stressed ” al-Nasir coalition confirms its full commitment to the decision of Federal court regarding the third amendment of the elections law ” and he added “We call on everyone to comply with the decision to safeguard the political process, the rule of law, the preservation of the votes of voters, and the integrity of the procedures related to legitimacy and the powers and institutions it produces ,” .
Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi said that the decisions of the Federal Court has directed a severe blow to corruption and fraud, stressing his confidence in the ability of the judiciary to the correction of the “deviation” witnessed by the electoral process. Allawi – in a statement reported by channel of “Alsumaria News” on Thursday that he was fully respected and abide by the decisions of the Federal Court on the Third Amendment Law of the election law, pointing out that these decisions directed a severe blow to fraud and corruption.
Allawi added, “Our confidence in our independent judiciary and its independent professional management to correct the deviation witnessed by the electoral process, whether through the procedures of counting and sorting by hand or by considering the huge amount of fraud,” stressing the need to “take legal action against the forgers and their protectors .”
While Osama bin Abdulaziz al-Nujaifi, Vice President and the President of the coalition of al-Qarar expressed about ” his full support to the decision of the Federal Supreme Court regarding the position towards the third amendment of the election law issued by the House of Representatives and the contents of the court’s decision to ensure the integrity of the legislative elections and its conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.” And he called to “tighten the control on the storage areas of all electoral funds in preparation for the checks to equalize the will of the people and restore confidence in the political process and in order to protect the rights of legitimate political forces of manipulation or forgery as well as taking quick legal action against the Manipulators and forgers. “He expressed his hope that” the decision of the Federal Supreme Court will be a key building block in building trust in the electoral process and a gateway to move towards the future at a confident pace. ”
For his part, the President of the Alliance of Democracy and Justice Barham Saleh said the decision of the Federal Court is the beginning for a task to protect the votes of voters and he expressed , in a series of Twitter through the social networking site Twitter , the hope that the resolution will lead to a fundamental treatment of serious violations of the election, stressing the need to abide by the legal and constitutional contexts to confront the fraud and to protect the democracy process and he pointed out that this decision will not be sufficient in itself, as it is a beginning, indicating that success in this effort depends on the cooperation of the concerned parties to implement the law and remove the effects of manipulation of the electoral process and prevent the deepening of the political rivalry and strife, stressing the need for the independence of the judiciary and the protection of the constitution as a basis for protecting the votes of voters.
He called on the political entities to cooperate and giving up their partisan interests to correct the electoral process without delay in order to prevent any constitutional vacuum that could lead the country to a deeper and more serious crisis. The President of the Alliance of Democracy and Justice Salih added that the important thing is to restore citizens’ confidence in the democratic process through procedures to detect violations that occurred at various stages of the elections Including the state of the funds after the ballot, pointing out that their integrity is seriously questioned and may be a new source for the manipulation of votes. He expressed the hope that this crisis is an opportunity to review and address the basic reasons of the crisis that plagued the country , calling for a comprehensive national dialogue in the Kurdistan region and Iraq in general to achieve a comprehensive settlement and to agree on a road map to exit the country from the cycle of crises on the basis of respect for the rights of citizens and the rule of law and the renunciation of violence and the protection of community peace as he put it.
Meanwhile, Qasim Mohammed al-Fahdawi, head of the Aperoon Alliance, considered the decision of the Iraqi judiciary as “enhancing transparency by dealing with the election results and restoring confidence to the Iraqi citizen to what happened specially the recounting and sorting will be carried out under the supervision of Judges known of their integrity and sincerity and at the same time , it will be the starting point for uncovering forgers and those who manipulated to the will of voters for the purpose of bringing them to the fair judiciary to receive their fair punishment . “al- Fahdawi added that the Aperoon alliance (Atransient ) ” confirms its absolute confidence in the great role placed on the judges and who will oversee the re-counting and assessment and evaluation of what happened in the electoral process towards the fairness of everyone and walk towards the bright future , which we all desire. ”
The leader of the Fatah coalition and the leader of the movement of Asaib Ahl al-Haq Qais al-Khazali said that the implementation of decisions of the Federal Court on the results of the elections will avoid Iraq constitutional vacuum. Khazali explained in the tweeting on social networking sites that the decision of the Court to restrict the process of recounting and manual counting on stations that received complaints and appeals and the ratification of the results, which have not been subject to complaints, can save the country a serious constitutional vacuum at this stage, if accelerated and applied professionally.
For his part, the Rapporteur of the fact finding Committee on the integrity of the elections, MP Abdul Karim Abtan said, “The judicial decision is binding and the duty of implementation is a victory for the Iraqis as a whole,” adding that “there will be new results for all political blocs and candidates away from the results announced previously, Pointing out that ” the process of counting and sorting will include a number of arrests and orders to imprison.” “Yes, there will be changes at the level of blocs and the level of the winners and losers.”
With this judgment, the Federal Court approved three new constitutional principles, as follows:
1. The Iraqi Council of Representatives has the right to enact laws at the special session.
2 – The Iraqi Council of Representatives has the right to amend and change the laws of the electoral process after conducting them and before announcing their results.
3 – The Iraqi Council of Representatives stresses on the constitutionality of non-sending laws to the President of the Republic for approval.
In preliminary forecasts, observers believe that the procedures established by the Federal Court will not change much in the equation of the declared results for both the big and young winners, especially with the keeping of the voices of outsiders and displaced people which was widely reported to be fraudulent .
With the approach of the Iraqi Council of Representatives from the end of its constitutional mandate, a question to the political front is raised in Iraq , a question on how the executive authority to continue in its work with the absence of the regulatory authority represented by the House of Representatives, a question that translates fears of various political parties from the possibility of the Government’s use of its broad powers to tighten its competitors of different political parties and currents. According to the Iraqi constitution, the government turns to caretaker government by the end of the life of the House of Representatives, which is four calendar years starting from the first session of the House of Representatives. But Iraqi laws do not separate the powers of the caretaker government, which is considered by the jurists of the Constitution to give it full powers.
So the decision of the Iraqi Federal Court opened the door widely for several possibilities for the next phase, especially since the current life of the House of Representatives expires on June 30, which may enter the country in a constitutional vacuum. To overcome this vacuum, the Iraqi Council of Representatives may resort to offer the proposal for extension itself until the announcement of the results of re-counting and manual sorting, and the ratification on the results by the Federal Court. According to observers for the Iraqi issue, the Iraqi Council of Representatives may take quick steps in the implementation of this to prevent any chaos of security or unrest after the end of its current period, explaining that the Iraqi Council of Representatives is now looking for any constitutional justification to continue until the announcement of the final results. This is also confirmed by the council’s Rapporteur , Niazi Maamar Oglu, when he pointed out that there is a proposal to pass a law allowing the House of Representatives to continue its work until the completion of the approval of the names of the winning candidates, according to local media. However, this solution may not satisfy other parties , especially those with armed factions, such as those affiliated with Al-Fatah , whose leaders spoke out against the decision of the judiciary and this speech threatens of the deterioration of situations to the worse and the entry of the country to the security chaos in which the head of Security and Defense committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives, leader of the Sadr’s movement, Hakim al- Zamili has warned of .
The interests of the Iraqi parties competing for the election results will push them to maintain the status quo and protect the political process from collapse, which inevitably result in pushing for a political settlement, and to achieve it , the Prime Minister Haider Abadi called for a broad national dialogue for all political forces in the country , it comes as part of his quest that all the political blocs put things on the table of dialogue and come up with radical solutions that serve the political process to resolve the crises that have plagued Iraq since 2003 until this day, so the responsibility and national conscience of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi in the introduction of that initiative, to enable Iraq to have the status that it deserves in the eyes of its citizens and countries of the world and the entrance of that is the civil state that respects the privacy of all its national and sectarian components within the framework of National League for all Iraqis.
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies