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Kirk H. Sowell
Regarding events in Iraq today: first, this is the text of Abd al-Mahdi's "resignation" statement. I would encourage media to be careful about using the word "resignation" to the extent that implies AAM has left or will imminently leave office.
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Kirk H. Sowell Nov 29
Replying to @UticaRisk
My take is that this is the end of the beginning of this crisis, not the beginning of the end. AAM simply says "I will submit my formal resignation" to parliament, after noting that he said he was ready to resign last month. There is no clear rule parl't has to accept it.
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Kirk H. Sowell Nov 29
Replying to @UticaRisk
Notably, AAM's statement contains a lengthy quote from the religious authorities' statement from Karbala today. This is the video of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani rep Ahmad al-Safi:
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Kirk H. Sowell Nov 29
Replying to @UticaRisk
What strikes me about this is that AAM is very specific that he will submit his resignation due to Sistani saying "parliament should review its options" on the government. AAM submitting his resignation simply signals his acceptance of this demand by religious authority.
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Kirk H. Sowell Nov 29
Replying to @UticaRisk
Notable also is what is missing: AAM does not mention the protests, or the deaths in the protests, as a reason to resign. He is "submitting his resigation" because religious leaders said so.
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Kirk H. Sowell Nov 29
Replying to @UticaRisk
So I see 3 options, from most to least likely: 1) AAM submits his resignation to parl't tomorrow or Sunday, whenever it next meets, and parl't puts it on hold until the political class can decide what it wants to do, & vote no confidence in a few weeks or months. Most likely.
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Kirk H. Sowell Nov 29
Replying to @UticaRisk
2) Parliament votes no confidence immediately. If so, then President Salih has 30 days to pick a new prime minister-designate and AAM stays on as caretaker PM for that month.
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Kirk H. Sowell Nov 29
Replying to @UticaRisk
3) Parliament accepts AAM's resignation, the PM's office becomes vacant, and President Salih becomes PM according to the constitution. I see almost no chance of this. It will be option 1) or 2).
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Kirk H. Sowell Nov 29
Replying to @UticaRisk
Again I stress that journalists should avoid saying something like, "Iraq's PM has resigned." If the US President resigns, he leaves the White House & the VP takes the oath of office. Abd al-Mahdi can submit his resignation tomorrow & still be in office on New Year's & beyond.
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Kirk H. Sowell Dec 2
Replying to @UticaRisk
: So I was wrong in thinking there were only three options, because there is also the option of parliament violating the constitution & doing something totally different. So what Iraq's parl't did yesterday was accept Abd al-Mahdi's resignation but ...
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Kirk H. Sowell Dec 2
Replying to @UticaRisk
...then treat it as if they had impeached him, thus activiting the provisions of Art. 61. Below I refer to Art. 61(8-c). But it only gives the PM 30 days as caretaker & assumes the president will nominate some else immediately. That's not what they did.
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Kirk H. Sowell Dec 2
Replying to @UticaRisk
In order to avoid activing Article 81, which would make Prez Barham Salih the prime minister, they treated the resignation as equivalent to triggering Article 76, tho the constitution does not say this. But it gives them 15 more days, & Abd al-Mahdi up to 45 days as caretaker.
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Kirk H. Sowell Dec 2
Replying to @UticaRisk
In order to do this, Speaker Halbusi got the Supreme Court to agree that Article 75 on the resignation of the president could apply to the PM. And instead of holding a vote, Halbusi simply said since no MP objected, AAM's resignation was accepted.
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Kirk H. Sowell Dec 2
Replying to @UticaRisk
There is no constitutional basis for what parl't did, but if all in charge agree on it, then they move forward & constitutional debates are beside the point. Perhaps it would have been better if the constitution's drafters had thought of this happening & worded it differently.
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Kirk H. Sowell Dec 2
Replying to @UticaRisk
Halbusi read out Abd al-Mahdi's resignation letter & it is worth noting that like his public statement (top of this thread) Abd al-Mahdi is clear he is resigning bc religious authorities said so. Not because of protester deaths or lack of public confidence or anything similar.
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Kirk H. Sowell Dec 2
Replying to @UticaRisk
Thus assuming the process takes all the time alloted, Abd al-Mahdi can remain caretaker PM at least into January & perhaps into Feb if the first PM-designate fails w/n 30 days (Art. 76). In essence, Abd al-Mahdi stays PM until they agree on someone else. END
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Kirk H. Sowell Dec 2
Replying to @UticaRisk
This is a minor point, but since some are saying that Abd al-Mahdi violated the constitution in submitting his resignation to parl't instead of the president, I'll just note that it is the Cabinet Bylaws (his own) AAM violated. The constitution doesn't say.
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