Iraqi court rules elections must take place on May 12

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi attends an event in Baghdad. (File photo/Reuters)
Updated 21 January 2018

Iraqi court rules elections must take place on May 12

BAGHDAD: Parliamentary and provincial elections in Iraq must take place on their scheduled date of May 12, the Federal Supreme Court ruled on Sunday.
The order ends a two-month debate on the issue after Sunni and Kurdish parliamentary blocs asked for voting to be postponed.
They argued that there was a lack of preparation because of the fight to drive Daesh out of towns and cities they had held for three years.
Gaining more time is crucial for Sunni politicians who lost their influence to political and tribal figures who fought Daesh alongside the government under the umbrella of Shiite-dominated paramilitary troops.
Kurds have also been looking to gain more time. Since October, they have lost their control over disputed areas after Baghdad launched a military campaign to drive the Kurdish forces back into their own region.
In their appeal for a postponement, the Sunni and Kurdish blocs relied on the previous electoral law, which said the date of the election should be approved by the parliament.
But the Supreme Court ruled that the constitution was “the supreme law in Iraq and is binding in all its regions, without any exceptions,” so the parliamentary and provincial elections should be held according to the constitutional dates.
“The Federal Court’s decision ended the debate over delaying the elections,” said Salim Al-Joubori, the parliamentary Speaker.
“The government must abide by its commitments to bring the displaced people back to their homes and provide them with the appropriate environment to ensure the participation of all in the upcoming election.”
Rebuilding infrastructure in cities and towns affected by the fighting, and bringing back more than three million displaced people to their homes, are the biggest challenges for the government before the elections.
Sunni politicians argue that the government cannot meet these commitments before the election date.
“This decision … is wrong and against the interest of Iraqis,” Hamid Al-Mutlaq, a senior Sunni politician, told Arab News. “The Supreme Electoral Commission is not ready to held the elections.” Hilding elections in May “does not give a fair or professional impression about the situation in Iraq,” he said.
“There will be a parliamentary session on Monday and we will see what to do.”


Egypt says no ‘breakthrough’ with Ethiopia over Nile dam

Updated 13 min 24 sec ago

Egypt says no ‘breakthrough’ with Ethiopia over Nile dam

  • The long-running dispute centers on the filling and operation of the hydroelectric dam
  • Shoukry says his county “respects Ethiopia’s right to development” but “without affecting Egypt.”

CAIRO: Egypt says negotiations over an upstream Nile dam being built by Ethiopia have not led to any “breakthrough.”
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters that talks over the $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have stopped for more than a year before restarting in Cairo on Sunday.
The long-running dispute centers on the filling and operation of what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam.
Shoukry says he hopes that Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia can agree a timetable to reach a deal over the soon-to-be-completed dam.
Egypt fears the dam could reduce its share of the Nile River which serves as a lifeline for the country’s 100 million people. Ethiopian maintains that the dam will help its development.
Shoukry says his county “respects Ethiopia’s right to development” but “without affecting Egypt.”