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Iraq

 
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Iraq

CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK

The Provisional Constitution of July 16, 1970, upon which Iraq's governmental system was based in 1988, proclaims Iraq to be "a sovereign people's democratic republic" dedicated to the ultimate realization of a single Arab state and to the establishment of a socialist system. Islam is declared to be the state religion, but freedom of religion and of religious practices is guaranteed. Iraq is said to be formed of two principal nationalities, Arab and Kurd. A March 1974 amendment to the Constitution provides for autonomy for the Kurds in the region where they constitute a majority of the population. In this Autonomous Region (see Glossary) both Arabic and Kurdish are designated as official languages for administrative and educational purposes. The Constitution also prescribes, however, that the "national rights" of the Kurds as well as the "legitimate rights" of all minorities are to be exercised only within the framework of Iraqi unity, and the document stipulates that no part of Iraq can be relinquished.

The Constitution sets forth two basic aims, the establishment of a socialist system based on "scientific and revolutionary principles," and pan-Arab economic unity. The state is given an active role in "planning, directing, and guiding" the economy. National resources and the principal means of production are defined as "the property of the people" to be exploited by the state "directly in accordance with the requirements of the general planning of the national economy." The Constitution describes public properties and the properties of the public sector as inviolable.

The Constitution classifies the ownership of property as "a social function that shall be exercised within the limits of society's aims and the state's programs in accordance with the provisions of the law"; nevertheless, the Constitution also guarantees private ownership and individual economic freedom "within the limits of the law, provided that individual ownership will not contradict or be detrimental to general economic planning." The Constitution stipulates that private property may not be expropriated except for the public interest and then only with just compensation. The size of private agricultural land holdings is to be defined by law, and the excess is to be regarded as the property of the people. The Constitution also bars foreign ownership of real estate, although individuals may be granted a legal exemption from this prohibition.

Articles 19 through 36 of the Constitution spell out fundamental rights and duties in detail. The right to fair trial through due process, the inviolability of person and of residence, the privacy of correspondence, and the freedom to travel are guaranteed to all citizens. The Constitution also assures citizens of their right to religious freedom; to the freedom of speech, of publication, and of assembly; and to the freedom to form political parties, trade unions, and professional societies. The Constitution directs the state to eliminate illiteracy and to ensure the right of citizens to free education from elementary school through the university level. According to Article 28, the aims of education include instilling opposition to "the doctrines of capitalism, exploitation, reaction, Zionism, and colonialism" in order to ensure the achievement of the Baathist goals of Arab unity, freedom, and socialism. The Constitution also requires the state to provide every citizen with employment and with free medical care.

The Constitution defines the powers and the functions of the different government institutions. These include the RCC, the National Assembly, the presidency, the Council of Ministers, or cabinet, and the judiciary . According to Article 37, the RCC "is the supreme body in the State." Article 43 assigns to the RCC, by a vote of two-thirds of its members, authority to promulgate laws and regulations, to deal with national security, to declare war and conclude peace, and to approve the government's budget. Article 38 stipulates that all newly elected members of the RCC must be members of the Baath Party Regional Command. The Constitution also provides for an appointed Council of Ministers that has responsibility for carrying out the executive decisions of the RCC.

The chief executive of the RCC is the president, who serves as the commander in chief of the armed forces and as the head of both the government and the state. The powers of the president, according to the Constitution, include appointing, promoting, and dismissing personnel of the judiciary, civil service, and military. The president also has responsibility for preparing and approving the budget. The first president, Ahmad Hasan al Bakr, was in office from 1968 to 1979, when he resigned and was succeeded by Saddam Husayn.

Articles 47 through 56 of the Constitution provide for an elected National Assembly, but its powers are to be defined by the RCC. Elections for the Assembly took place for the first time in June 1980. Subsequent National assembly elections were held in October 1984.

The Constitution can be amended only by a two-thirds majority vote of the RCC. Although the 1970 Constitution is officially designated as provisional, it is to remain in force until a permanent constitution is promulgated.

Data as of May 1988

 

Iraq - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Government and Politics
  • National Security

  • Go Up - Top of Page






    GENERAL FACTS & LINKS

    Country name
    Iraq
    conventional long form
    Republic of Iraq
    conventional short form
    Iraq
    local long form
    Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
    local short form
    Al Iraq

    Area -
    total: 437,072 sq km
    land: 432,162 sq km
    water: 4,910 sq km

    Geographic Location - Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

    Map references - Middle East

    Capital - Baghdad

    Border Countries - Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 242 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 331 km

    Major Cities - Baghdad

    Independence -
    3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

    National holiday - Revolution Day, 17 July (1968)

    ISD CODE
    Iraq 964

    Languages Spoken - Arabic (official) and Kurdish

    Weather Forecast -  Baghdad  Mosul  Saddam Irq-Afb / Civ  Shaibah / Basrah

    Major Airports - Baghdad

    Ports - Umm Qasr, Khawr az Zubayr, and Al Basrah have limited functionality

    Population -24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)

    Religion - Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%

    Nationality - Iraqi(s)

    Currency - Iraqi dinar

    Currency Code - IQD

    National Bird - "Kew" (Chukar)

    Lakes - Hammer

    Rivers - Euphrates, Tigris

    Terrain - Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

    Climate - Mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq

    Geography - Strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

    Waterways - 1,015 km
    note: Shatt al Arab is usually navigable by maritime traffic for about 130 km; channel has been dredged to 3 m and is in use; Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have navigable sections for shallow-draft boats; Shatt al Basrah canal was navigable by shallow-draft craft before closing in 1991 because of the Gulf war

    Natural hazards - Dust storms, sandstorms, floods

    Natural Resources - petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulphur


    More Iraq related links from
    1Up Info

     Iraq Country Facts

     Middle Eastern Political Geography

     Iraq Political Geography

     Middle Eastern Physical Geography

     Iraq Towns & Cities

     Iraq History


    Iraq related links from
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     Iraq Country Guide

     Iraq Detailed Maps

     Iraq Flag

     More Iraqi Flags

     Iraq Geography

     Iraq Travel Warnings

     Iraq Cities Weather

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    Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


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