The country’s top court has rejected a law that would have prevented the embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from seeking a third term in office after elections next year.
The Supreme Federal Court said that it had ruled unconstitutional controversial legislation that limited the Premier, President and the Parliamentary Speaker to two terms of office.
Mr Maliki, pictured, first became Prime Minister in 2006. He secured a second term in office after nearly nine months of political wrangling after the 2010 national elections.
His political rivals accuse him of consolidating power, bringing the security forces and other state institutions under his control, and sidelining rivals. They say he has plunged the country into political infighting that has contributed declining security and some of the worst violence in years. His backers say he is a unifier who has restored a shattered Iraqi state, and that the electorate should decide whether to keep him as Prime Minister. After the law was passed in January, Mr Maliki’s allies dubbed it illegal and vowed to appeal against it.
Two politicians – Mr Maliki’s ally Ali al-Shalah and one of his opponents, Mohammed al-Khalidi – said the court issued its decision on Monday on the basis that draft laws should be proposed by the cabinet or the President, not parliament.