Iraq top court says it can’t dissolve parliament

Iraq’s top court ruled Wednesday that it does not have the legal right to dissolve parliament, a much anticipated decision that raises the stakes in the country’s unprecedented 11-month political crisis.

The ruling by the Supreme Federal Court states the court does not have the legal authority under Iraq’s constitution to dissolve the legislature, which was a key demand by influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The Federal Supreme Court said in a statement on Wednesday that parliament must dissolve itself if it is deemed to have not performed its duties.

Iraq’s parliament is a powerful body that chooses a president and prime minister and must approve all laws.

Iraq’s government has been deadlocked since al Sadr’s party won the largest share of seats in October parliamentary elections but not enough to secure a majority government. Al Sadr’s followers stormed the parliament in late July to prevent their rivals from Iran-backed Shiite groups from forming the government.

With ensuing rallies, clashes with security forces, counter-rallies and a sit-in outside parliament, at the end of August after Sadr announced he would be quitting politics over the deadlock the government formation process has stalled.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Anmar Khalil