Freezing of work of provincial councils will lead to chaos: says Kirkuk councilors

Kirkuk- A regular meeting of the Kirkuk provincial council prior to the October 16, 2017 events, 2017   Photo: provincial council media office

Goran Baban- Kirkuk

Kirkuk provincial council members say the attempts of the Iraqi parliament to freeze the work of the councils will lead to “chaos and rampant corruption.”

According to the amended provincial elections law, the provincial councils will continue to function until March 2020; however, the parliament in its October 8 session approved in principle the freezing of the work of the councils.

“Those in favor of dissolving the provincial councils are accustomed to dictatorial regimes and do not believe in administrative decentralization. They are afraid that in the future Basra province would be turned into a federal region,” council member Ahmed al-Askari, from the Brotherhood list told KirkukNow.

Al-Askari expressed astonishment at the parliament’s decision saying, “Why are they targeting the provincial councils? The budget is in the hands of the Iraqi government and the governors, not the councils. They see the provincial councils as an obstacle ahead of their corruption plans, and want to evade accountability.”

They see the provincial councils as an obstacle ahead of their corruption plans

The work of the provincial councils is limited to the ratification of the provincial budget and following up the work of the service departments. If the parliament moves on with its proposal, the councils will stop functioning until the next elections, scheduled for April 2020.

“We have many remarks I regard to the performance of the acting governor of Kirkuk. If the parliament votes to suspend the work of the provincial councils there will be chaos and increased corruption,” al-Askari added

Meanwhile, Tahseen Kahya, another member of the Kirkuk provincial council, said the parliament’s move contradicts with the amended provincial council elections law, which provides for the continuation of the work of the councils until March 2020, a month before the elections are held.

“This is a law, and a law is only abolished by another law; therefore, the parliament should first discuss with its legal committee a mechanism to make new amendments to the provincial elections law,” he explained.

Tahseen Kahya cited opposition among members of the provincial councils in the country to the parliaments plan. “I communicated with the parliament’s legal committee who also expressed astonishment from the decision; therefore I believe the provincial councils will continue its work until the end of its term."


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