A week after a threat to dissolve parliament by Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, the Iraqi legislative body appears more divided than ever, with today’s session collapsing immediately into arguments over whether or not Jabouri is even allowed to organize a meeting.
That’s because Jabouri, the top ranking Sunni Arab in the government, was fired on Thursday, in a rushed vote by a group of MPs who got together when he, and his party, were not present to vote him out. The validity of that vote is hotly disputed, over the question of whether enough MPs were present to make it legal.
Though MPs present insist they had 173 present, which would barely be a quorum, photographs taken during the vote show no more than 131 MPs present, well short of the number needed. Jabouri insists that makes the vote unconstitutional.
Jabouri’s ouster was seen mainly as an attempt to undermine Prime Minister Hayder Abadi, as Jabouri supports his technocrat cabinet. The cabinet was to be voted on Tuesday, but this never happened, and subsequent sessions have all been cancelled, meaning it’s unlikely a vote will ever take place. Even if it does, heavy opposition from Abadi’s own party, along with the Kurds, means the cabinet is almost certainly dead on arrival.