The National Assembly
Although the 1970 Constitution provides for a parliament called
the National Assembly, this body was not instituted until 1980.
The RCC first circulated a draft law creating the assembly in
December 1979; after some changes this was promulgated as law
the following March. According to the law, the National Assembly
consists of 250 members elected by secret ballot every four years.
All Iraqi citizens over eighteen are eligible to vote for assembly
candidates. The country is divided into 250 electoral districts,
each with an approximate population of 250,000. One representative
is elected to the assembly from each of these constituencies.
The National Assembly law also stipulates, however, that there
is to be a single electoral list. Furthermore, the qualifications
of all candidates for the assembly must be reviewed and be approved
by a governmentappointed election commission. In practice, these
provisions have enabled the Baath Party to control the National
To qualify as a candidate for National Assembly elections, individuals
need to meet certain conditions. For example, prospective candidates
must be at least twenty-five years of age, must be Iraqi by birth,
must not be married to foreigners, and must have Iraqi fathers.
Having a non-Iraqi mother is grounds for disqualification except
in those cases where the mother is of Arab origins and from another
Arab country. In addition, persons who were subject to property
expropriation under the land reform or nationalization laws are
not eligible candidates. Furthermore, all aspiring candidates
are required to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the election
commission that they believe in the principles of the 1968 Baath
Revolution, that is, in the Baath Party's objectives.
The first parliamentary elections since Iraq became a republic
in 1958 were held in June 1980, and the First National Assembly
convened at the end of that month. Baath Party candidates won
75 percent, or 187, of the 250 seats. The remaining 25 percent
were won by parties allied with the Baath and by independent parties.
Elections for the Second National Assembly were held in October
1984. Approximately 7,171,000 votes were cast in that election,
and the Baath won 73 percent (183) of the seats. Thirty-three
women were elected to the assembly. Saadun Hammadi was elected
chairman of the assembly, and two years later he was made a member
of the RCC.
Since 1980 the National Assembly generally has held two sessions
per year in accordance with Article 48 of the Constitution. The
first session is held in April and May, and the second session
in November and December. During the few weeks each year that
the National Assembly is in session, it carries out its legislative
duties in tandem with the RCC. The assembly's primary function
is to ratify or reject draft legislation proposed by the RCC.
In addition, it has limited authority to enact laws proposed by
a minimum of one-fourth of its membership, to ratify the government's
budget and international treaties, and to debate domestic and
international policy. It also has authority to supervise state
agencies and to question cabinet ministers. Although the assembly
has served as a forum for limited public discussion of issues,
its actual powers were restricted and ultimate decision-making
authority pertaining to legislation continued to reside with the
RCC in 1988.
Data as of May 1988