Iraqi parliament to vote on controversial 2021 budget on Wednesday

The Iraqi parliament holds a session in Baghdad. (Photo: Archive)
The Iraqi parliament holds a session in Baghdad. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – After months of often contentious negotiations between various political factions in Iraq, the national parliament in Baghdad called on Tuesday for all lawmakers to attend a session on the following day to hold a vote on the passage of the 2021 budget.

The body has repeatedly postponed the vote due to disagreements over a number of its articles, primarily provisions that outline deficits and the share of the budget allocated to the autonomous Kurdistan Region.

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"We call upon the distinguished members of the House of Representatives to come tomorrow, Wednesday, at 1 p.m., to hold a session to vote on the budget law, which is long overdue," read a statement released by parliament's leadership.

It also came with a warning to elected officials, that "the names of attendees and absences will be published" for a public that has grown increasingly weary and mistrustful of those tasked with representing it. 

"The legislation of the Federal Budget Law for the fiscal year 2021 is an important step, because of its partiality to the interests of the citizens," it added.

The agenda for Wednesday's session, the statement continued, "will include the presentation of the request submitted by the political parties, which is supported by the signing of more than 172 deputies to vote on the dissolution of the Iraqi parliament in its fourth session, according to the provisions of Article 64 of the Iraqi constitution."

Article 64 of the Iraqi constitution states that “the Council of Representatives may be dissolved by an absolute majority of the number of its members, or upon the request of one-third of its members by the Prime Minister with the consent of the President of the Republic.”

This step comes in response to the public demands for early elections, championed by many of the tens of thousands who have taken part in a national protest movement that began in October 2019 and previously led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi and his entire cabinet.

"By this, the parliament has fulfilled all the requirements and practical steps for conducting early elections, including the formation of an independent commission of judges, enacting the House of Representatives election law, and voting on the First Amendment Law (Order No. 30 of 2005), the Federal Supreme Court Law."

The Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council on Monday named judges that will sit on the nation's highest court with the power to weigh in on election results.

Editing by John J. Catherine