A step closer to federalism in Iraq
Posted by worriedlebanese on 13/10/2006
This Wednesday, 141 Iraqi MPs voted in favor of a bill setting up a system that will allow provinces to merge into autonomous regions… in 2008. Even though the Iraqi Constitution mentions federalism as a principle of government, it doesn’t really specify the distribution of power between the federal States and the central government, nor does it include a mecanism for the creation and recognition of federal entities.
The new bill takes Iraq a step further towards federalism, but it postpones it until 2008 because of a provision that prevents the formation of federal regions for another18 months. This decision was reached two weeks ago. Federalism is a very controvesial issue in the Middle East in general. And Iraq is the first State to provide for it in its constitution. Opponents to the Bill tried to prevent the vote by walking out of Parliament hoping the quorum wouldn’t be reached. Their plan nearly succeeded, but the Bill passed anyway without any vote being expressed against it (those who opposed it had already left the building).
For ideological reasons, federalism is equated in this region with weakness and division, as being the antonyme of unity.