Iraq’s parliament passed a new law on Saturday barring Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from a third term, as members of the country’s Sunni community staged mass protests against his leadership.
Iraq’s parliament passed a new law on Saturday aimed at blocking Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki from serving a third consecutive term, as the Shiite premier faced growing pressure from mass Sunni demonstrations against his government.
Lawmakers from Sunni, Kurdish and Shiite parties voted for the law, but the legislation still needs the president’s approval and will face challenges in federal court after Maliki’s supporters rejected the move as illegal.
The law, restricting the posts of prime minister, parliament speaker and president to two four-year terms, was approved as the Shiite premier struggled to bring an end to weeks of protests by Sunni demonstrators against his leadership.
“Parliament succeeded today in passing an important law to limit the terms of three posts, including the prime minister’s,” said Khalid Shwani, head of the legal panel of parliament.
Parliamentary elections are due early in 2014. First elected in 2005, Maliki was re-elected in 2010 in an indecisive ballot that lead to the formation of a fragile national unity government made up of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties.
Kurdish parties, the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc and even some rivals in Maliki’s own Shiite coalition failed to trigger a vote of no confidence against the prime minister last year, after having accused him of accumulating power at their expense.
Since the last American troops left Iraq in 2012, Shiite, Sunni Muslim and ethnic Kurdish parties have been caught in a power-sharing stalemate that has left parliament paralysed on key legislation regarding the nation's oil and investment.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-01-26