With all this talk and demonstrating about, for and against the new Iraqi constitution I thought I'd give you my impression of it.
There are some very odd features: Most unusual is the odd way the executive is structured. The unicameral assembly elects, by 2/3 vote, the Presidency Council (the executive). That makes it look like a Prime Minister. But most Prime Ministers have control over the legislative agenda. The Iraqi President will not have such control. Furthermore, the Presidency Council can only be removed with a 3/4 vote. Prime Ministers can be removed by a majority vote. This odd combination of Prime Ministerial and Presidential features resembles the government of Israel which is, in my opinion, one of the worst run governments around.
This odd Presidency Council may veto legislation and appoints the "Council of Ministers" which consists of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. This dual executive resembles another often dysfunctional democracy: France (and Weimar Germany by the way). Ambiguous executive authority is workable in an established democracy like France but in democracy that is just starting out, it can be fatal - just ask the Germans.
A second odd feature is the unicameral assembly. In most federal systems, there is a bi-cameral legislature. Usually, the second chamber has the role of representing the constituent provinces or states. But no such second chamber exists in this constitution.
Finally, this is not even intended to be the final constitution. That constitution is to be written by the National Assembly. So what we have is a badly written constitution based on bizarre understandings of institutional design, that has built into it, a call for its own replacement.
That the Bush administration can claim that this is anything other than a long line of over hyped anti-climaxes in Iraq is absurd. Of course the Bushies only do two things in Iraqi: over play non-events; and sugar coat disasters.
I encourage you all to read this constitution for yourselves. The press is talking themselves silly about it but without any reference to any details. Don't let Chicken Noodle News tell you what's worth knowing.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 6:15 PM