Cablegate: Provincial Councils Terms of Office

DE RUEHGB #3986 3430719
P 090719Z DEC 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: Iraq,s provincial councils were seated in
January 2005. It is commonly assumed that members of the
provincial councils were, like members of the Council of
Representatives, elected to four year terms and that new
elections are therefore required by January 2009. However,
this assumption is incorrect, because there is no legislation
in place that defines the term of office for provincial
council members. In theory, the current provincial councils
will remain seated indefinitely until legislation is enacted
defining their terms of office. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)
Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) Chapter Eight discusses
provincial councils. TAL Chapter 8 Article 55 (B) states
that "(e)ach Governor and member of each Governorate Council
who holds office as of 1 July 2004 in accordance with the law
on local government that shall be issued, shall remain in
place until such time as free, direct, and full elections,
conducted pursuant to law, are held..." The TAL makes
reference to only one set of provincial elections. CPA Order
71 on Local Government Powers, Section 2, Article 4 states
that "Elections for Governorate Councils will take place at
the same time as elections for the National Assembly, no
later than 31 January 2005." The combination of TAL Chapter
8 and CPA Order 71, which requires mandatory elections by 31
January 2005, implies a seven month term of office for those
provincial council members who were in power on 01 July 2004.

3. (SBU) However, nowhere in TAL Chapter 8, CPA Order 71, CPA
Order 92 (the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq), or
CPA Order 96 (the Electoral Law) is there any reference to a
subsequent term of office or subsequent elections for those
provincial councils elected in January 2005. Collectively,
the TAL and CPA legislation envisioned only one set of
provincial elections in January 2005, and made no provision
for any others. The expectation was that the Constitution
and other legislation drafted after January 2005 would
subsequently define terms of office.

4. (SBU) While this did in fact happen with the CoR, whose
four year terms of office were subsequently defined in
Article 56 of the Constitution, no similar provision
addresses the Provincial Councils. The only relevant
provision of the Constitution, Article 122 clause Fourth,
states that "a law shall regulate the election of the
Governorate Council, the governor, and their powers." The
referenced law defining both their election and their powers
has yet to be passed. As a result, the existing provincial
councils will remain seated until legislation is enacted
defining their terms of office. (Note: current drafts of the
proposed Law of Governorates Not Organized into a Region
contemplate a four year term of office. End Note.)

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