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Cablegate: Vp Adel Returns Provincial Powers Law to Cor:

VZCZCXRO8733
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0572 0581449
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271449Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5936
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 000572

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL IZ
SUBJECT: VP ADEL RETURNS PROVINCIAL POWERS LAW TO COR:
LETTER AND PRESS STATEMENT

1. On February 26, Vice President Adel Abdel Mehdi, acting
in his capacity as a member of the GOI Presidency Council
empowered to ratify or reject legislation passed by Iraq's
Council of Representatives (CoR) within a prescribed period
of review, formally notified the CoR Secretariat in writing
of his objection on constitutional grounds to the draft
Provincial Powers law, one of the three legislative items
passed by the CoR on February 13 as part of an omnibus
package. We will analyze possible ramifications of this
development and suggest an appropriate USG response septel.
This cable contains unofficial translations of the operative
portions of Adel's objection letter and the CoR Secretariat's
press statement regarding this development.

2. Begin unofficial translation of Adel's objection letter:

We would like to inform you of our objection to the draft
Provincial Powers Law which has been passed in the parliament
session number 54 on February 13, 2008, the second
legislative chapter/second legislative year/first election
term, and pursuant to the powers authorized under the
permanent constitution/article 138/fifth. Our objection is
based on our belief that many of its articles are either
ambiguous, need to be clarified, or might be in violation of
constitutional provisions which give wide powers to the
provinces to build the federal and decentralized system, yet,
on the contrary, the draft law may be heading towards
increased central government authority in violation of the
constitution.

This law violates most of the articles mentioned in the
fourth section of the constitution, especially the two
articles 114 and 115, and violates article 122 regarding the
broad administrative and financial authorities that the
provincial government council is not being subjected to the
control or supervision of any ministry or any ministerial
related entity and has an independent financial budget. It
also did not include details; even referring to the many
articles of the constitution which gave the provinces
specific rights. Reviewing the constitution articles 105,
106, 110, 112, 113 and others shall bring out the fact of the
matter.

The legal experts in our office are currently studying all
the alternative proposals and details and shall, within a few
days, submit a complete document of the articles objected to,
as well as suggestions of required amendments.

Our position on the law does not deny many of the positive
issues contained therein. We particularly support what the
parliament had endorsed regarding provincial council
elections to take place by the beginning of October.

Therefore, we would like to inform the CoR Presidency of our
objection. Note that this law will not go into effect until
after the provincial elections, as the parliament is enjoying
a legislative holiday and the preservation of the election
date will allow the responsible bodies to continue its work
to abide the stated deadlines, which would not pose any
obstruction to the schedule agreed upon.

End unofficial translation of Adel's letter.

3. Begin unofficial translation of CoR Secretariat Press
Statement:

On February 17, the CoR Secretariat sent to the Presidency
Council the following draft laws that had been passed by the
CoR: the 2008 GOI Budget, the General Amnesty Law, and the
Provincial Powers Law.

The Presidency Council has ratified the 2008 GOI Budget and
the General Amnesty Law and has sent the items to the
Ministry of Justice to be published in the official GOI
Gazette. However, the Council did not reach consensus
regarding the draft Provincial Powers Law. A formal
objection letter was presented pursuant to Article 138 of the
Constitution and the draft law was returned to the CoR for
constitutional review of the provisions cited in the
objection letter.

However, the Presidency Council unanimously supports
adherence to the scheduled date of holding provincial
elections by October 1, 2008. The formal objection does not
pose any obstacle to adherence to this proposed date,
particularly because the Provincial Powers Law will not in
any event take legal effect until after such elections are
conducted.

End unofficial translation of CoR Press Statement.
CROCKER

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