Parliamentarian Mahmoud Othman, a leader in the Kurdish Alliance, was quoted in the November 28, 2009 New York Times summing up the problems with Iraqi politics. When asked about the possibility that the country would hold elections past the January 31, 2009 deadline set in the constitution he replied, “So what? Nothing in Iraq is very legitimate.” Every major piece of legislation and decision in Iraq is endlessly delayed because of power politics and a zero-sum attitude by law makers. Iraq held its last parliamentary elections on December 15, 2005, but it took four months for Nouri al-Maliki to be named prime minister, and a month after that for him to name his cabinet. The last national elections the country held were for provincial councils. They were originally planned for October 2008, but got delayed until January 2009. The new election law was supposed to be passed by October 15, 2009. There’s talk that it may be confirmed in the beginning of December, but there’s also a possibility that Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi will veto it a second time because the amended version reduces seats for Sunni provinces. Elections are now planned for February or March 2010, one to two months passed the constitutional deadline. Otherman is right than, Iraqi politics does lack legitimacy with its public who see the government as dysfunctional because its unable to provide basic services or make big decisions.
AK News, “Hashemi to take final decision on elections law after Eid,” 11/28/09
Chon, Gina, “Iraqis Miss Target Date on Election,” Wall Street Journal, 10/16/09
Myers, Steven Lee, “Benchmarks in Wartime: As Reliable as Promises,” New York Times, 11/28/09
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report to the United States Congress,” 10/30/09