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Constitutional legitimacy in Iraq: What role local context?

Zaid Al-Ali, Part V.8, Constitutionalism in Islamic Countries: Between Upheaval and Continuity, Edited by Rainer Grote and Tilmann J. Röder, Oxford University Press (2011).

This article seeks to demonstrate how local context can impact a text’s change of achieving internal acceptance. It begins by defining constitutional legitimacy and by arguing that although the 2006 Constitution has been endorsed by the international community, it was essentially dead on arrival in Iraq (II). An effort is made, through the use of two case studies, to explain how this situation was brought about. The first seeks to show how the drafters’ lack of understanding of Iraq’s institutional context brought about the collapse of its system of parliamentary oversight under the 2006 Constitution (III), while the second shows how the constitutional drafters (and the internationals who advised and guided the constitutional process) had misjudged the relative popularity of the parties that were allowed to control the drafting process and that dictated the final text’s content (IV). Finally, an effort is made to define what is meant by “local context” and to identify its different components, particularly with a view to encouraging greater attention and understanding of local considerations and interests by all parties involved in a constitutional process in the future (V).

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