Iraq’s Federal Court delays ruling on extending Kurdistan Parliament’s term

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court has once again postponed its hearing on the legality of extending the term of the Kurdistan Parliament. This marks the eighth adjournment since the Kurdistan parliament extended its tenure for an additional year in October of last year.

If the court deems the extension unconstitutional, all decisions made by the Kurdistan Parliament during that period will be nullified, including the recent move to reactivate the Region’s electoral commission.

The previous hearing on the extension of parliament took place on November 3, and it was rescheduled for May 24. However, it has now been adjourned once again.

The Federal Supreme Court has previously decided to invite the Iraqi High Election Commission to the next session to seek their opinion on their preparedness to conduct the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Region. The inefficiency of Kurdistan Region’s electoral commission prompted the invitation.

This decision came at a time when the Region’s electoral commission was still inactive. However, during a recent session of the Kurdistan parliament, clashes erupted between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) MPs regarding the reactivation of the commission. The KDP faction claims to have reactivated the commission with 58 votes, while the Parliament Speaker of the PUK rejects this assertion.

Late last year, the Kurdistan Parliament passed a law to extend its term after elections were postponed due to political disputes within the Kurdistan Region. This extension triggered widespread protests and reactions. Eventually, the New Generation Movement and several other political figures, including former Kurdistan Parliament Speaker Yousif Mohammed, filed a complaint with the Federal Supreme Court, arguing that the extension was unconstitutional.

To hold the parliamentary elections in Kurdistan, the electoral commission and the electoral law must be reactivated. The KDP faction claims that the commission was recently reinstated. However, if the Federal Court rules the extension of the Kurdistan parliament’s term unconstitutional, the decision to reactivate the commission will be nullified.

On the other hand, the Federal Supreme Court’s decision could potentially provide a way out of the crisis, especially if the region complies with it. In such a scenario, the Kurdistan parliamentary elections would be held based on the old law used during the 2018 elections. Additionally, the elections would be supervised by the Iraqi Election Commission.

Relying on the old law would favor the KDP, as the PUK opposes participating in the elections without amending the electoral law.



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