|Ratified||15 October 2005|
Iraq's first constitution, which established a constitutional monarchy, entered into force under the auspices of a British military occupation in 1925 and remained in effect until the 1958 revolution established a republic. Interim constitutions were adopted in 1958, 1963, 1964, 1968, and 1970, the last remaining in effect de jure until the Transitional Administrative Law was adopted. In 1990, a draft constitution was prepared but never promulgated due to the onset of the Gulf War.
The current constitution was approved by a referendum that took place on 15 October 2005. The constitution was drafted in 2005 by members of the Iraqi Constitution Drafting Committee to replace the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period (the "TAL"). The TAL was drafted between December 2003 and March 2004 by the Iraqi Governing Council, an appointed body that was selected by the Coalition Provisional Authority after the Iraq War and occupation of Iraq by the United States and Coalition forces.
Under a compromise brokered before the referendum, it was agreed that the first parliament that was to be elected pursuant to the new constitution would institute a Constitutional Review Committee with a view to determine whether the constitution should be amended. Any amendments agreed would have to be ratified by a similar referendum to the one that originally approved it. After this agreement was entered into, the Sunni-majority Iraqi Islamic Party agreed to back a Yes vote in the referendum that took place on October 15, 2005. The Constitutional Review Committee was constituted by the Iraqi parliament on 25 September 2006.
Electoral Commission officials said at a news conference that 78 percent of voters backed the charter and 21 percent opposed it. Of the 18 provinces, two recorded "No" votes greater than two thirds, one province short of a veto. A two-thirds rejection vote in three of the country's 18 provinces (of which three—Mosul, Anbar, and Salahaddin—are thought to include Sunni majorities) would have required the dissolution of the Assembly, fresh elections, and the recommencement of the entire drafting process. Turnout in the referendum was 63 percent, commission officials had previously said.
The drafting and adoption of the new Constitution was not without controversy, however, as sectarian tensions in Iraq figured heavily in the process. The chairman of the drafting committee, Humam Hamoudi, regularly made statements which were interpreted as meaning that there would be no compromises on Sunni demands. The deadline for the conclusion of drafting was extended on four occasions because of the lack of consensus on religious language. In the end, only three of the 15 Sunni members of the drafting committee attended the signing ceremony, and none of them signed it. Sunni leaders were split as to whether to support the constitution. Saleh al-Mutlaq, the chief Sunni negotiator, urged followers of his Hewar Front to vote against it, but the biggest Sunni block, the Iraqi Accord Front did support the document after receiving promises that it would be reviewed and amended, taking into account their views. A Constitution Amendment Committee has been set up in this regard, but the progress has been slow. Notably, the same figure who chaired the drafting committee, Humam Hamoudi, is chairing the amendment committee as well.
The text of the proposed constitution was read to the National Assembly on Sunday 28 August 2005. It describes the state as a "democratic, federal, representative republic" (art. 1) (however, the division of powers is to be deferred until the first parliament convenes), and a "multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-sect country" (art. 3).
The Transitional National Assembly, which was elected in January 2005 pursuant to the Coalition Provisional Authority's Transitional Administrative Law, appointed a Constitutional Committee for the purpose of preparing a draft constitution by 15 August 2005. The Committee was initially made up of 55 members, all of whom were drawn from the Transitional National Assembly, but its membership was eventually expanded beyond the Assembly's numbers, in order to allow representatives from the Sunni Arab community to participate (given that the latter had boycotted the elections that gave rise to the Transitional National Assembly).
According to the Transitional Administrative Law, the Constitutional Committee was obliged to complete its work by 15 August 2005, and for the draft to be submitted to a referendum by 15 October 2005. However, by the beginning of August 2005, all parties were in agreement that a final agreement on some of the Constitution's most important elements, including federalism, was still far from complete. As a result, the Committee was effectively dissolved and replaced by an ad hoc body (referred to as the "Leadership Council"), which was composed of approximately 6 members and which continued to negotiate the constitution's final terms until three days before the referendum date.
The Constitution was adopted on 15 October 2005 in a referendum of the people.
Under a compromise brokered before the referendum, it was agreed that the first parliament that was to be elected pursuant to the new constitution would institute a Constitutional Review Committee with a view to determine whether the constitution should be amended. Any amendments agreed would have to be ratified by a similar referendum to the one that originally approved it. After this agreement was entered into, the Sunni-majority Iraqi Islamic Party agreed to back a Yes vote in the referendum that took place on 15 October 2005. The Constitutional Review Committee was constituted by the Iraqi parliament on 25 September 2006. 
On 18 September 2005, several changes to the text of the constitution were approved by Iraq's parliament, and will be included in the version published for ratification by the public. Also, a new compromise was made which caused many Sunni groups to support the constitution. Many of the links to the Constitution use the 24 August 2005 AP wire translation; however, the American Chronicle uses a slightly different translation dated 12 October 2005.
The Constitution sets out a multitude of basic assertions (unfortunately because of last minute changes to the constitution, most of the footnote references below to specific articles in the constitution are inaccurate):
The Constitution defines many rights and freedoms, and incorporates laws in many subject areas into the Constitution. It guarantees the rule of law, equality before the law, equal opportunity, privacy, inalienable nationality and dual nationality, judicial independence, the prohibition on criminal ex post facto laws, right to counsel, a public trial unless the court decides to make it a secret trial, a presumption of innocence, the right to participate in public affairs and the right to vote, to elect and to nominate, freedom from extradition, political asylum, "economic, social and cultural liberties", the right to work, the right to join trade unions, ownership of personal property, eminent domain powers, rights similar to the Four Freedoms (European Union), minimum wage, universal health care, free education, dignity, freedom from psychological and physical torture and inhumane treatment and the right to compensation, freedom from "compulsory service", limited freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly, the right to engage in sports, limited freedom of forming and of joining associations and political parties, requirement of warrants for wiretaps, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, conscience and belief.
The Council of Representatives is the main elected body of Iraq. The Constitution defines the "number of members at a ratio of one representative per 100,000 Iraqi persons representing the entire Iraqi people." The members are elected for terms of 4 years.
The council elects the President of Iraq; approves the appointment of the members of the Federal Court of Cassation, the Chief Public Prosecutor, and the President of Judicial Oversight Commission on proposal by the Higher Juridical Council; and approves the appointment of the Army Chief of Staff, his assistants and those of the rank of division commanders and above, and the director of the intelligence service, on proposal by the Cabinet.
The Federation Council is composed of representatives from the regions and the governorates that are not organized in a region. The council is regulated in law by the Council of Representatives.
The President of the Republic is the head of state and "safeguards the commitment to the Constitution and the preservation of Iraq's independence, sovereignty, unity, the security of its territories in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution." The President is elected by the Council of Representatives by a two-thirds majority, and is limited to two four-year terms. The President ratifies treaties and laws passed by the Council of Representatives, issues pardons on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and performs the "duty of the Higher Command of the armed forces for ceremonial and honorary purposes."
There also exists a Vice President which shall assume the office of the President in case of his absence or removal.
The Presidency Council is an entity currently operating under the auspices of the "transitional provisions" of the Constitution. According to the Constitution, the Presidency Council functions in the role of the President until one successive term after the Constitution is ratified and a government is seated.
The Council of Ministers is composed of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. The President of Iraq names the nominee of the Council of Representatives bloc with the largest number to form the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is the direct executive authority responsible for the general policy of the State and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, directs the Council of Ministers, and presides over its meetings and has the right to dismiss the Ministers on the consent of the Council of Representatives.
The cabinet is responsible for overseeing their respective ministries, proposing laws, preparing the budget, negotiating and signing international agreements and treaties, and appointing undersecretaries, ambassadors, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and his assistants, Division Commanders or higher, the Director of the National Intelligence Service, and heads of security institutions.
The federal judiciary is composed of the Higher Judicial Council, the Supreme Court, the Court of Cassation, the Public Prosecution Department, the Judiciary Oversight Commission, and other federal courts that are regulated by law. One such court is the Central Criminal Court.
The Higher Judicial Council manages and supervises the affairs of the federal judiciary. It oversees the affairs of the various judicial committees, nominates the Chief Justice and members of the Court of Cassation, the Chief Public Prosecutor, and the Chief Justice of the Judiciary Oversight Commission, and drafts the budget of the judiciary.
The Supreme Court is an independent judicial body that interprets the constitution and determines the constitutionality of laws and regulations. It acts as a final court of appeals, settles disputes amongst or between the federal government and the regions and governorates, municipalities, and local administrations, and settles accusations directed against the President, the Prime Minister and the Ministers. It also ratifies the final results of the general elections for the Council of Representatives.
The Independent High Commission for Human Rights, the Independent Electoral High Commission, and the Commission on Public Integrity are independent commissions subject to monitoring by the Council of Representatives. The Central Bank of Iraq, the Board of Supreme Audit, the Communications and Media Commission, and the Endowment Commission are financially and administratively independent institutions. The Foundation of Martyrs is attached to the Council of Ministers. The Federal Public Service Council regulates the affairs of the federal public service, including appointment and promotion.
The federal government has exclusive power over:
Powers shared with regional authorities:
All powers not exclusively granted to the federal government are powers of the regions and governorates that are not organized in a region. Priority is given to regional law in case of conflict between other powers shared between the federal government and regional governments.
Chapter Five, Authorities of the Regions, describes the form of Iraq's federation. It begins by stating that the republic's federal system is made up of the capital, regions, decentralized provinces, and local administrations.
The country's future Regions are to be established from its current 18 governorates (or provinces). Any single province, or group of provinces, is entitled to request that it be recognized as a region, with such a request being made by either two-thirds of the members of the provincial councils in the provinces involved or by one-tenth of the registered voters in the province(s) in question.
Provinces that are unwilling or unable to join a region still enjoy enough autonomy and resources to enable them to manage their own internal affairs according to the principle of administrative decentralization. With the two parties' approval, federal government responsibilities may be delegated to the provinces, or vice versa. These decentralized provinces are headed by Provincial Governors, elected by Provincial Councils. The administrative levels within a province are defined, in descending order, as districts, counties and villages.
Article 120 states that Baghdad is the Capital of the Republic, within the boundaries of Baghdad Governorate. The constitution makes no specific reference to the status of the capital and its surrounding governorate within the federal structure, stating merely that its status is to be regulated by law.
Consisting solely of Article 121, Part Four simply states that the constitution guarantees the administrative, political, cultural, and educational rights of the country's various ethnic groups (Turkmens, Assyrians, etc.), and that legislation will be adopted to regulate those rights.
The electorate of Iraq went to the polls on 15 October 2005 to vote in a referendum on whether or not to ratify the proposed constitution of Iraq. After 10 days of counting votes, the country's electoral commission announced that the constitution had been approved by a wide margin nationwide. A number of critics allege massive irregularities, especially in the crucial province of Ninawa, which was widely expected to provide the third (and deciding) "no" vote.Abbas al-Bayati
Natik Abbas Hasan al-Bayati is an Iraqi Shiite Turkmen politician and a member of the Iraqi National Assembly. He is a member of the State of Law Coalition.
He was exiled from Iraq under Saddam Hussein and became the Secretary General of the Islamic Union of Iraqi Turkoman. He was appointed to the "Follow-Up and Arrangement Committee" of the Iraqi opposition following a conference in London in 2002 He was a member of the committee that drafted the Constitution of Iraq and the current committee considering amendments to the constitution.Administrative divisions of Iraq
The main subdivision in Iraq is the 18 muhafazah, also known as governorates. Before 1976 they were called liwas, or banner).Under the Constitution of Iraq adopted in 2005, one or more provinces may elect to form a Region, which has the right to a share of oil revenues.
Modern Iraq mostly covers the Ottoman Empire vilayets (provinces) of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul and part of Zor and Arabia.The governorates are divided into districts.Ali al-Adeeb
Ali Mohammad Al-Hussein Ali Al-Adeeb is an Iraqi politician and a senior member of the Islamic Dawa Party. In April 2006 he was tipped by the United Iraqi Alliance as a candidate for the post of Prime Minister, after their original choice, Ibrahim Jaafari, was vetoed by the Kurdistani Alliance and Iraqi Accord Front.
Adeeb was born in Karbala in 1944 and went to secondary school in Baghdad. He obtained a degree in Literature and Education from the Baghdad University and taught Psychology.
While Saddam Hussein was the President of Iraq, Adeeb was exiled to Iran, where he headed the Teheran-based Political Bureau of the Dawa party and took the nickname "Abu Bilal". He returned to Iraq in 2003 after the invasion.
Adeeb was appointed to the committee that drafted the Constitution of Iraq in 2004, and has been a member of the Iraqi Parliament since 2004.Amendment to the Constitution of Iraq
The government of Iraq has established a committee to consider a proposed amendment to the Constitution of Iraq.Central Bank of Iraq
The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) (Arabic: البنك المركزي العراقي) is the central bank of Iraq.Disputed territories of Northern Iraq
The disputed territories of Northern Iraq are regions defined by article 140 of the Constitution of Iraq as being Arabised during Baath Party rule in Iraq. Most of these regions are inhabited by non-Arabs, most notably by Assyrians, Yazidis, Turkmens/Turkomans, Shabaks and Kurds.
The disputed areas have been a core concern for Arabs and Kurds, especially since the US invasion and political restructuring in 2003. Kurds gained territory to the south of Iraqi Kurdistan after the US-led invasion in 2003 to regain land they considered historically theirs.Currently, in addition to the four existing governorates within Iraqi Kurdistan (Erbil, Dahuk, Halabja and Sulaymaniyah), Kurds control parts of Nineveh Governorate, Kirkuk Governorate, Salah ad Din Governorate and Diyala Governorate; on the other hand, Iraqi government controls other parts of those four provinces, some parts of which are also claimed by the Kurds. However, during the 2014 ISIL offensive, Iraqi Kurdistan's forces also took over much of the disputed territories. During the 2017 Iraq-Kurdish conflict, The Iraqi Government recaptured much of this territory after the referendum thus pushing KRG forces back to pre-2003 borders.Federal government of Iraq
The federal government of Iraq is defined under the current Constitution, approved in 2005, as an Islamic, democratic, federal parliamentary republic. The federal government is composed of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as numerous independent commissions.Federalism in Iraq
The 2005 Constitution of Iraq defines Iraq for the first time as a federal country.Iraqi Transitional Government
The Iraqi Transitional Government was the government of Iraq from May 3, 2005, when it replaced the Iraqi Interim Government, until May 20, 2006, when it was replaced by the first permanent government.
On April 28 it was approved by the transitional Iraqi National Assembly, which had been elected in January 2005. It operated under the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, and its main functions were to draft a permanent Constitution of Iraq and to form a transitional government.Jalal al-Din Ali al-Saghir
Sheikh Jalal al-Din Ali al-Sagheer is an Iraqi politician and a former member of parliament in the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.
Prior to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq he was the chairman of the Paris Mosque in France.He is the imam of the Shi'a Buratha Mosque in Baghdad.In May 2005 he was appointed to the committee that drafted the Constitution of Iraq.
In December 2005 he was elected to the Iraqi Council of Representatives on the United Iraqi Alliance list.
In April 2006 three suicide bombers killed at least 69 people in an attack at the Buratha Mosque. al-Saghir accused Sunni politicians and clerics of waging "a campaign of distortions and lies against the mosque".Two months later he was the target of another suicide bomber from al-Qaeda in Iraq, who killed 13 people when he blew himself up in the mosque.In October 2006 he was one of the senior Iraqi clerics who prepared the Mecca Declaration condemning sectarian violence.In November 2006 he clashed in Parliament with Sunni Arab leader Adnan al-Dulaimi, which was shown on live television. He claimed Shiites in some areas were enduring violence that was driving them towards militias and "opening the gates of hell", and that Sunni Arab parliamentarians were inciting the violence.In February 2007 the Buratha Mosque was searched by Iraqi Special Forces as part of the Baghdad Security Plan after complaints that the mosque was a base for sectarian death squads.In 2007 he was appointed to the parliamentary committee charged with agreeing amendments to the Constitution of Iraq.
In 2014 he created Saraya Ansar al-Aqeeda as a part of Popular Mobilization Forces.In a January 2018 interview, Saghir stated his support for the authority of the Iranian Islamic theologian and head of state Ali Khamenei.Kirkuk status referendum
The Kirkuk status referendum was the Kirkuk part of a planned plebiscite to decide whether the disputed territories of Northern Iraq should become part of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The referendum was initially planned for 15 November 2007, but was repeatedly delayed and ultimately never took place.The referendum was mandated by Article 140 of the Constitution of Iraq. Article 140 required that before the referendum, measures had to be taken to reverse the Arabization policy employed by the Saddam Hussein administration during the Al-Anfal Campaign. Thousands of Kurds returned to Kirkuk following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The referendum was to decide whether enough had returned for the area to be considered Kurdish.Kurdish resentment over the government's failure to implement Article 140 was one of the reasons for the 2017 Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, which posed the question, "Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the Region to become an independent state?" The referendum led to episodes of Iraqi–Kurdish conflict and the government takeover of Kirkuk.Languages of Iraq
There are a number of languages spoken in Iraq, but Mesopotamian Arabic (Iraqi Arabic) is by far the most widely spoken in the country.Members of the Iraqi Constitution Drafting Committee
The members of the Iraqi Constitution Drafting Committee were appointed by the Iraqi Transitional Government on 12 May 2005 to draft a new constitution for Iraq.
The breakdown of members by political affiliation was:
United Iraqi Alliance - 28
Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan - 15
The Iraqis - 8
Communist Party of Iraq - 1
Iraqi Turkmen Front - 1
National Rafidain List - 1
Sunni Arab nominee - 1 (later expanded to 15)The original 55 members were:
Abdel Hadi Al-Hakim
Dr Ali Al-Dabagh
Dr Hussein ‘Athab Th’ban
Dr Jeneen Al-Qedou
Sami ‘Azaze Al-Ma’joun
Dr Aboud Al-‘Isawi
Dr Hamam Hamoudi
Jalal Al-Deen Al-Sagheer
Dr Sa’ad Qendeel
Dr Jouad Smeisim
Dr Nadim al-Jabiri
Dr Khadheer Moussa Ja’fr Al-Khaza’i
Dr Muhsen Al-Qazwini
Al-Tefat Abed Al-Sa’ed
Najehe Abed Al-Emir
Dr Fouad M’soum
Dr S’di Berzenji
Freedoun Abed Al-Qader
Dr Mundher Al-Fadhl
Dr Hussein Balissani
Abed Al-Khaleq Zengena
Sami Ahmed Ali Shebek
Dara Nour Al-Deen
Ahmed Wahab Majeed
Hamid Majid Mousa
Kamran Khairi Sa’id
Abed al-Rahmen al-Na’imi
Oua’el Abel Al-Latif
Dr Radha Al-Khaza’i
Taher Al-Baka’Politics of Iraq
The politics of Iraq place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic. It is a multi-party system whereby the executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers as the head of government, as well as the President of Iraq, and legislative power is vested in the Council of Representatives and the Federation Council.
The current Prime Minister of Iraq is Adil Abdul-Mahdi, who holds most of the executive authority and appointed the Council of Ministers. which acts as a cabinet and/or government.The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Iraq as "hybrid regime" in 2016.Presidency Council of Iraq
The Presidency Council of Iraq was an entity that operated under the auspices of the "transitional provisions" of the Constitution of Iraq and previously under the Transitional Administrative Law.
The Presidency Council functioned in the role of the President of Iraq until one successive presidential term after the ratification of the Constitution and a government was seated. The Presidency council consisted of one President and two deputies, or Vice-Presidents, and the Presidency Council must have made all decisions unanimously.The members of the Presidency Council were elected with "one list" by a two-thirds majority in the Iraqi Council of Representatives. The Presidency Council had the right to veto legislation passed by the Council of Representatives which may have overrode the veto with a three-fifths supermajority. Under the TAL the override required a two-thirds supermajority.President of Iraq
The President of Iraq is the head of state of Iraq and "safeguards the commitment to the Constitution and the preservation of Iraq's independence, sovereignty, unity, the security of its territories in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution". The President is elected by the Council of Representatives by a two-thirds majority, and is limited to two four-year terms. The President is responsible for ratifying treaties and laws passed by the Council of Representatives, issues pardons on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and performs the "duty of the Higher Command of the armed forces for ceremonial and honorary purposes". Since the mid-2000s, the Presidency is primarily a symbolic office, and by convention since 2005, usually held by a Kurdish Iraqi.Vice President of Iraq
Iraq has three vice presidents or deputy presidents, although a debate is ongoing about a political reform to abolish their posts.
The office of Vice-President was historically largely ceremonial but prestigious. In post-war Iraq, the Constitution of Iraq, in its "Transitional Guidelines," creates a three-member Presidency (or Presidential) Council, consisting of the President of the Republic and two deputy presidents, who must act in unison. The Presidency Council had three members to accommodate Iraq's three largest groups: Sunni Muslim Arabs, Shiite Muslim Arabs, and the mostly Sunni Kurds. As a unit, the Presidency Council was meant to symbolize the unity of the nation. This arrangement is required by the constitution to continue until the Council of Representatives, enters its second set of sessions. At this point, the Presidency Council would be replaced by a solitary President of the Republic, who would have only one deputy, the Vice-President. In any case, the Presidency is appointed by the Council of Representatives. The three-member arrangement was a hold-over from the Iraqi interim government and the Iraqi Transitional Government.
On September 2014, three new Vice Presidents were elected: former Prime Ministers Nouri al-Maliki and Ayad Allawi and former Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.On August 11, 2015 the Council of Representatives approved the al Abadi government plan to abolish the posts of both Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister. Later, Osama al-Nujaifi filed a complaint against the decision, considering it to be against the Constitution. Also Nuri al-Maliki promised to cling to his post. On 10 October 2016, the three posts of Vice President were restored by the Supreme Court of Iraq which deemed their abolition unconstitutional.Wael Abdul Latif
Wael Abdul Latif (born c. 1950) is an Iraqi politician from the secular Iraqi National List coalition. He was the Minister of Provincial Affairs in the Iraqi Interim Government created following the coalition 2003 invasion of Iraq.
A Shia Muslim, he trained as a lawyer in Baghdad and served as a judge since the 1980s, including as head judge in Nasiriyah and deputy head judge in Basra. He was imprisoned for a year under Saddam Hussein's regime.In July 2003, he was appointed governor of Basra and was a member of the Iraqi Governing Council from July 2003 until June 2004. He was a member of the committee that drafted the Constitution of Iraq.
He was elected to the Council of Representatives of Iraq in the Iraqi legislative election of December 2005 as part of the Iraqi National List coalition.