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Iraq Index
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Constitutional Background

Following the 2003 'Iraq War' of a U.S.-led alliance against Hussein, the 1990 Constitution is no longer in force.  Instead, the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) unanimously approved an Interim Constitution -- the Transitional Administrative Law.  It will be in effect until a permanent constitution is adopted in 2005.  The Interim Constitution recognizes Islam as "a" source of legislation and bans any laws violating the tenets of the Muslim faith (Art. 7).  The document entails a comprehensive bill of rights.  Details of Kurdish autonomy are not yet determined, but Iraq is geared towards a federalist system.  As a goal (not quota), 25% of the national assembly seats are made up for women (Art. 30).  Although the charter is temporary, council members and U.S. executives expect it to serve as the basis for the permanent constitution.  It will be followed by an addendum about non-direct elections of an interim representative government for the transfer of administrative power on June 30.

The ICL Edition of the 1990 Constitution is still available.  It does not include the changes of Sep 1995 preparing the popular confirmation of Saddam Hussein as president.  It has been used by the Hussein government as a ruling constitution even though the "referendum" of 15 Oct 1995 only indirectly concerned the constitution -- it was a vote to establish Saddam Hussein as president.  The constitutional referendum originally planned for the early 1990s could not take place due to the state of war.  Therefore, the validity of the document seems to depend on an implicit referendum by presidential elections on 15 Oct 1995.  ICL called it 'interim constitution', i.e. effectively ruling though not established with finality.

Iraq's 18 million people had been struggling under UN-sanctions ever since Hussein's decision to invade Kuwait on 2 Aug 1990.  About 70% depended on government rations, which provide only half of minimum calorific requirements.

History and News

  • 8 March 2004: The IGC signs the Interim Constitution (Transitional Administrative Law) even though the controversial provisions of Art. 61 (C) regarding the veto right of two-thirds of the voters in three or more governorates are still in place and the trio of the Presidency Council (Art. 36) has not been extended to five.
  • 5 March 2004: Signing ceremony of the Interim Constitution by CPA and IGC falls apart when five Shia members of the IGC demand lesser minority protection.
  • 3 March 2004: Signing of Interim Constitution postponed due to Ashura bombings.
  • 29 Feb 2004: Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) unanimously approves an Interim Constitution -- the Transitional Administrative Law.
  • 15 Nov 2003: Agreement between the CPA and the Iraqi Governing Council to recognize a new transitional administration by June 30, 2004, to assume the power to govern Iraq.  The CPA will dissolve into a large U.S. embassy.
  • 13 July 2003: Establishment of a Iraqi Governing Council with the consent of U.S. occupying powers.  The council has 22 male and three female members representing many, but not all relevant religious and political groups in Iraq.
  • 6 May 2003: Ambassador L. Paul Bremer is named Presidential Envoy to Iraq and heads the CPA.
  • April 2003: After the Iraq War, U.S. establishes the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) as a temporary civil administration for Iraq.
  • 15 Oct 1995: Presidential elections achieved 99.96% Yes vote and 99.47% turnout for Saddam Hussein, leaving only about 3,300 unaccounted voters among 8.4 million.
  • Sep 1995: Parliament unanimously approves Saddam Hussein's sole candidacy for nationwide elections and amends the constitutional document accordingly. The UN Security Council extends trade sanctions.
  • 10 Aug 1995: Sadam Hussein's son-in-law Hussein Kamel al-Majid defects to Jordan in a car convoy and receives political asylum by King Hussein.
  • 1 Aug 1995: Sadam Hussein orders general amnesty for those who have been convicted for political reasons. He also threatens to stop all cooperation with the UN by the end of August if there was no progress towards lifting sanctions.
  • June 1995: Ahmed Rasheed is named Oil Minister. Defence Minister Ali Hassan Majiid, cousin of President Sadam Hussein, loses his office.
  • May 1995: Interior Minister Watban Ibrahim Hassan, half-brother of President Sadam Hussein, loses his office.
  • Dec 1994: Head of Iraqi intelligence Wafiq Samarrai defects to U.S. Marines stationed in the Kurdish safe havens in northern Iraq. He promotes the overthrow of Sadam Hussein from exile in Damascus.
  • 1991: Sadam Hussein's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti goes to Geneva (Switzerland) for exile.
  • 1990: Hussein invades Kuweit; during the following 'Gulf War', the U.S. free Kuweit, but do not march on Baghdad.
  • 1979: Sadam Hussein gains power in Iraq.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 16th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.