By Patrick Martin and ISW Iraq Team
Key Take-Away: The Iraqi Federal Court ruled that two key sessions of the Council of Representatives (CoR) in April, one held by legitimate CoR and the other held rebelling members of a rump parliament, were illegal. The ruling stated that the April 14 rump CoR session, when rebelling CoR members illegally voted to remove CoR Speaker Salim al-Juburi from his position, was invalid as it did not meet quorum. The Federal Court also ruled that the April 26 regular CoR session that voted in five new technocratic ministers was invalid due to unconstitutional procedure of the session. The former decision deals a blow to the Reform Front – the incarnation of the rebelling CoR members and the rump parliament – as one of its primary objectives has been to remove Speaker Juburi from office and replace him with a member of the Reform Front. Some of their members stated that the group would return to the CoR and attempt to vote out Speaker Juburi once more. The Reform Front’s return could help the CoR make quorum and recommence legislative work, but political stability is far from likely. The second decision to nullify the April 26 session undermines PM Abadi’s credibility by highlighting his inability to carry out even a compromise cabinet reform, let alone a preferred full reshuffle. The CoR is slated to reconvene in early July. Even if it reaches quorum, the perpetually-stalled reform agenda, calls by Muqtada al-Sadr and other firebrand CoR members for resignations of senior government members, and a fracturing Kurdistan Alliance all but ensure a delay on progress for important legislation. Continued disruptive behavior and obstructionism will likely continue within the CoR, and further momentum could build for a no-confidence vote in PM Abadi in the wake of Federal Court’s decision.