Iraq – Economy stalled as political crisis delays budget approval
Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Source: A24 Baghdad
Restriction: A24 subscribers
Iraqis await the results of the Federal Supreme Court session scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, ruling on a motion to dissolve the country’s deadlocked parliament.
Concerns grew after supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the Green Zone in the wake of the clerics’ announcement that he was withdrawing from politics.
The unrest that followed prompted Prime Minister Mustafa Kazemi to call on the parties to stop the bloodshed and continue a national dialogue suspended by a security curfew.
Kazemi said that should the parties continue their intransigence, he would resign, raising fears of a worsening political vacuum.
Political analyst Hamza Mustafa told A24 that a caretaker government would be unable to pay salaries, advance infrastructure projects, or grow the economy because it can’t constitutionally pass a budget.
Soundbite (Hamza Mustafa – political analyst):
“From a constitutional point of view, there has been a constitutional violation for months. But if the position of the prime minister becomes vacant for any reason, and the president of the Republic is the one who holds this position for a certain period, there will be no political vacuum. It will be a caretaker government in accordance with the Financial Management Law. But this is not enough because without a budget the government cannot act properly and the caretaker government is restricted to the exchange. There will be a fundamental problem at the level of investment projects and job opportunities. The budget doesn’t just mean salaries.”
Soundbite (Bassam al-Qazwini – political analyst):
“The budget approval process will fail as the pressure of popular demands increases. On the one hand, there are obvious political struggles, but in the end, I think the process of passing the Food Security Act a few months ago, which forced some political forces to vote on it, will be repeated again in the approval of next year’s budget.”