Iraq’s top court ends Parliament speaker’s term

In a surprising and unprecedented move, Iraq's Federal Supreme Court has terminated the tenure of Parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, the country's most powerful Sunni politician. Al-Halbousi, who called the decision "strange" and a potential violation of the constitution, now faces a political shakeup with far-reaching consequences.

The court's decision, final and not subject to appeal, also included the termination of lawmaker Laith al-Dulaimi's membership in Parliament, raising questions about the legal grounds behind this significant move.

Background of Mohammed al-Halbousi:

Elected as speaker in 2018 at the age of 37, al-Halbousi made history as the youngest speaker of Parliament in Iraq. A former governor of Anbar province, he rose to prominence by cultivating relationships with Shia Muslims and Kurds, crucial to his ascent in the country's sectarian power-sharing system.

However, recent political shifts and a loss of support within Iraq's ruling Shia alliance, the Coordination Framework (CF), marked a turning point. Al-Halbousi's attempt to form a government with their opponents after the 2022 parliamentary elections led to a loss of trust, with analysts viewing him as untrustworthy and accruing too much power.

The Court's Decision and Legal Context:

The court's ruling stems from a case brought against al-Halbousi earlier this year, the details of which remain undisclosed. The decision was met with surprise and criticism from al-Halbousi, who emphasized his five years of operating with integrity, maintaining a non-discriminatory stance between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

The context also involves a dispute between al-Halbousi and al-Dulaimi, both Sunni. Allegations of forgery regarding a resignation letter, brought by al-Dulaimi against al-Halbousi, added another layer to the already complex legal landscape.

Implications for Iraq's Political Landscape:

Deputy Speaker Mohsen al-Mandalawi will step in as interim speaker, but the political vacuum left by al-Halbousi's removal raises questions about the impact on Iraq's sectarian power-sharing system and national stability. As the highest Sunni official in Iraq, his departure marks a significant shift in the country's political dynamics.

The timing of this political upheaval, just ahead of Iraq's scheduled provincial elections on December 18, adds an extra layer of complexity. With polls for provincial councils taking place after a decade, the political shakeup could shape the landscape for these crucial elections.


The removal of Mohammed al-Halbousi as Parliament speaker is more than a legal decision; it marks a turning point in Iraq's political landscape. As the country navigates through this constitutional crisis, the implications for national stability and the upcoming elections remain uncertain. The aftermath of this decision will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of Iraq's political future.

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