Iraqi federal court ‘commits’ parliament to pass law forming Federal Council

By Mustafa Muayad - Head of Baghdad office in Salt & Associates - m.ridha@saltandassociates.com - 00964 78 050 10222

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Supreme Court decided on Wednesday to establish a Federal Council, a move a Kurdish lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament described as “very important” for protecting Iraq’s federalism.

The council will act as an observer over laws that are passed by parliament, MP Zana Rostayi said.

“Iraq is a federal state but the federalism of this state is not complete because it does not have a Federal Council. If this council exists, there will be a filter for laws. Often, some laws are passed in the legislature which need review and it requires a party to review them and return them to the parliament,” said Rostayi,a member of the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal).

“This law protects the interests of provinces and regions, therefore we in the legal committee welcome this decision by the Federal Court and we will do what falls upon us to include this law on the agenda for voting,” he added.

Rostayi called on the parliament and political parties to pass the law in order to “complete” Iraq’s law-making authority.

The ruling “commits” the Iraqi parliament to work with related parties to pass a law to form the Federal Council in light of Articles 65 and 37 of the constitution that stipulate the legislative branch consists of the parliament and Federal Council, and that the members of the Federal Council are from the regions and the provinces that are not part of any region.

The Kurdistan Region is the only region in Iraq that consists of four provinces, while the rest of the Iraqi provinces are officially called “provinces not incorporated in a region,” and therefore need to be represented in the Federal Council.

Former Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani expressed in July 2017 that the failure to form the Federal Council whose mission should have been to regulate between Baghdad and the regional government is an attempt to isolate the Kurdish government on a diplomatic level.

The ruling also points to the constitution that stipulates the law for the Federal Council must be passed with two-thirds of the votes in the parliament.