Al Sudani rejects Sunni ministers’ resignation in row over speaker’s dismissal

Al Sudani rejects Sunni ministers’ resignation in row over speaker’s dismissal

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani has rejected the resignation of three Sunni ministers in protest over a court decision to dismiss Parliamentary Speaker, a statement said on Monday.

The Supreme Federal Court last week ruled to oust the influential Sunni Speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi over forgery charges.

Mr Al Halbousi has been in a months-long legal battle with Sunni legislator Laith Al Dulaimi, who accuses him of forging his signature on a resignation letter.

The court also removed Mr Al Dulaimi as an MP.

The ministers tendering their resignations are Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning, Mohammed Tamim, Minister of Industry and Minerals, Kahlid Battal Najam and Minister of Culture, Ahmed Al Badrani.

The three are linked to Mr Al Halbousi’s Taqadum party.

A statement by Mr Al Sudani said he rejected the resignations to “underline the government’s commitment to ensuring political representation for all components of the people”.

The Prime Minister said all three “will immediately resume their duties”.

Shortly after the ruling, Taqadum said its ministers of planning, industry and culture would be resigning, as would MPs on parliamentary committees, in objection to Mr Al Halbousi’s dismissal.

The MPs will also sit out of parliamentary sessions and Taqadum will boycott political meetings with other parties, it said.

Mr Al Halbousi challenged his dismissal, saying it is not within the Federal Court’s jurisdiction to look into the validity of membership of parliament.

The court, he said, determines the constitutionality of laws and regulations and settles disputes between federal government, regions and provinces.

Parliamentary membership and termination, he said, are governed by specific constitutional articles, laws and procedures inside the parliament, which are beyond the Supreme Federal Court’s remit.

“The court has no right to look into the legitimacy of the membership of the lawmaker,” he said.

The largest Shiite parliamentary bloc and prominent Sunni parties have backed the court’s decision.

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