Food Insecurity Intensifies As Court Prevents Draft Law Amendment In Iraq
Iraq–Its bad news for Iraq again. Despite having a caretaker government, it is not going to get any respite from skyrocketing food prices. The Federal Supreme Court has made it clear that a caretaking government cannot propose draft laws.
The attempt by the caretaker PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi has come to a knot’s end. The draft law to tackle the skyrocketing food prices has gone into slumber. Undeniably, the pro-Iran Shia lawmakers are at odds with Muqtada al-Sadr’s majority bloc over the bill.
Sadr has not received support on any accounts of development in the newly established government. Strangely, after the court had shelved the bill proposed by Kadhimi on May 17, the same bill was seen floating around; this time at the hands of a number of MPs from al-Sadr’s bloc. The intent it seems was to empower the Iraqi government to spend money and tackle rising food prices as the country struggles to pass a budget law due to the political deadlocks.
Iraq has been facing huge economic crises over the continuous interference by Iran and corruption at the hands of monied elite politicians. After the pandemic, it has again faced economic hardships.
On 26 May, Al-Sadr directed his bloc, and hence the parliament, to pass the draft law in defiance of attempts for undermining the parliament so that “the Iraqi people can utilise directly from the law.” For his part, Hakim al-Zamily, deputy speaker of the parliament from the Sadrist bloc, vowed that the draft law will pass.
However, the Coordination Framework, a parliamentary faction consisting of pro-Iran Shia parties, fiercely oppose passing the bill. Meanwhile, and out of desperation, Qais Al-Khazali, secretary-general of pro-Iran Asaib Ahl al-Haq had proposed several motions to the Iraqi government. This was done on May 29, simply to deal with the food security issue, describing these steps as “practical.”
Al-Khazali meant to do away with the food coupon rationing system. Instead, use the income from oil exports to be directly disturbed amongst Iraqis. Strangely, economists say that the court actually cannot stop the caretaker government from making such protective laws. Additionally, the finance minister seems to have with him the power to the law, which means there is no transparency and manipulation of power again at play.