Category Archives: Kurdistan Region of Iraq

SP in disputed areas and other territories (12) – Kurdistan Region of Iraq

This is another in a series of posts on semi-presidentialism in areas other than internationally recognised states. The focus is on areas with, or that have had, full constitutions, but ones that are not recognised as independent states. They may be territories that have declared independence but whose status has not been internationally recognised, or they may simply be self-governing units within or under the protection of another state.

This post is a little speculative because I am not completely sure of the constitutional situation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. (The area shaded red in the map). However, recent events there suggests to me that the region is semi-presidential.

On Saturday elections were held to the regional assembly and separately for the president of the region. Previously, it had also been planned to hold a referendum on the region’s constitution, which, according to niqash, was adopted by the regional parliament on 24 June this year. However, the supposedly “secessionist” nature of the constitution was seen by Baghdad to be controversial and no referendum was held. There is a report from RFE/RL here.

A copy of the constitution in a language I understand is slightly difficult to obtain or at least to verify. However, a version of a draft constitution dating to 2007 is available in English here. As far as I am aware, this is the constitution that has been adopted, though there may have been amendments since then. Assuming this is the constitution, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is semi-presidential.

Article 100 creates a directly elected president.
Article 109 establishes a Council of Ministers that explicitly includes a prime minister. The nomination of the Council of Ministers must be approved by parliament.
Article 114 B states that the Council of Ministers shall resign if the parliament withdraws its confidence from the prime minister.

As far as I can tell, there is no provision for the president to dismiss the prime minister. So, this seems to be a premier-presidential form of semi-presidentialism, even if the president of the region seems to be a strong figure.

Any clarification of the constitutional situation would be helpful, but, unless the constitution has been radically amended, which is entirely possible, then this is unequivocally a semi-presidential constitution.