Iraq top court invalidates decisions of Kurdish parliament

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Iraq’s supreme court on Tuesday ruled as unconstitutional the extended mandate of autonomous Kurdistan’s parliament, rendering invalid votes taken by the chamber since last year.

It is the latest controversy between Iraq’s federal authorities and Kurdistan whose leaders had on Saturday denounced amendments in the federal budget affecting oil sales from the region in Iraq’s north.

Elections in Iraqi Kurdistan had been scheduled for late 2022, but disputes between its two main parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), forced the assembly to extend its mandate for another year.

Fresh elections were scheduled for November this year.

In his ruling Judge Jassem Mohammed Aboud, president of the top federal court in Baghdad, found unconstitutional the year-long extension of the chamber’s mandate.

As a result, decisions taken by the Kurdistan parliament since October 2022 “are constitutionally invalid,” Aboud said.

His ruling came after some Kurdistan opposition legislators who were upset with the mandate extension took their case to the court.

Last week, deputies in Kurdistan’s parliament came to blows after the KDP scheduled a late vote to activate the commission organizing the elections. PUK lawmakers wanted the vote postponed.

The KDP currently holds the largest bloc of 45 seats, trailed by the PUK with 21 in the 111-seat chamber.

Shivan Fazil, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said the court’s ruling “is unprecedented” because it also nullifies “the government that has been sworn in” before the regional parliament.

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