Parliament holds second reading of bill to restore Kurdistan Region President’s powers

4/4/2019 5:34:00 PM

4 April 2019 - The Kurdistan Parliament yesterday sat for the second reading of a bill to restore the functions of the President of the Kurdistan Region; and to amend the election system for the presidency from public election to parliamentary vote, until a Kurdistan Region constitution is enacted in the future.

MPs debated each clause of the bill at length. Many said that they it was important for the parties and lists to come to a consensus on the bill, and that restoring the functions of the Kurdistan Region’s Presidency was essential for the Region’s governance. The president’s powers were distributed to parliament, government, and the judiciary when President Masoud Barzani stepped down in November 2017, as a temporary measure until post- the parliamentary election of September 2018.

The majority of MPs said that the debate itself was a good start to Parliament’s new four-year term, as all of the parliamentary parties and lists participated and debated extensively. The PUK’s MPs attended the debate, the first time that they have come to the chamber since MPs were sworn in on 6th November 2018. Ms. Begard Talabani, leader of the PUK in parliament, said that the very recent KDP-PUK agreement to form the cabinet was a very positive step and the PUK was pleased to return to parliament. Many parliamentarians said that they welcomed the PUK’s return.

Most MPs expressed their support for the details of the bill. Some MPs said that the President should continue to be elected by popular vote, while others said that election by parliamentary vote should a permanent rather than a temporary change. Some said that the Kurdistan Region presidency should be a ceremonial position, and were against restoring the president’s powers.

Speaker Dr. Vala Farid said that the spirit of compromise and agreement expressed by most of the MPs was a positive sign for Parliament’s programme of work, and also bode well for the new Kurdistan Regional Government coalition cabinet, which will include the KDP, PUK, Gorran (Change Movement) and possibly others.

Speaker Dr. Vala Farid asked the Legislative Committee to take MPs’ proposed amendments to clauses and comments into account and present the final bill at the next parliament sitting for voting. The Parliament session was led by Dr. Farid, Deputy Speaker Hemen Hawrami and Secretary Muna Kahveci.

The passage of a bill into law in the Kurdistan Parliament goes through these stages: Either the government or a minimum of 10 MPs can start a bill (propose a law) or propose changing an existing law. The first reading of the bill in the chamber is a usually a formality, without debate; the bill then goes to the Legislative Committee for detailed study, and then to the relevant committee covering that subject area for further examination. At the second reading, in the chamber MPs debate the bill in detail and suggest general and clause-by-clause amendments. The bill returns to the Legislative Committee which redrafts the bill, taking into account the amendments that MPs suggested at the second reading. At the third reading in the chamber, MPs vote on the final bill. If it receives enough votes, it passes into law. At each stage of the bill, parliament’s presidency comprising the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Secretary, timetable the readings and committee meetings.

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