A bill that members of the Council of Representatives intend to present to the Prime Ministerial Committee calls for the implementation of Article 18 of the Constitution. The bill is to be presented at the end of the current legislative session or the beginning of the next one. If passed, Article 18 would mandate the forfeiture of dual nationality by anyone taking a high-level governing or security position. In this regard, Representative Ahmed Al-Alwani of the Iraqi Concordance Front said, “Iraqi nationality—despite the conditions under which Iraqis lived previously which compelled them to leave Iraq to escape the tyranny of the former regime and adopt nationalities of other countries—continues to have a strong effect on the Iraqi soul and on those who take high-level governing or security positions in the state. Those who carry another non-Iraqi nationality must forfeit it out of respect for the Constitution as well as out of patriotism. They must confirm their allegiance to Iraq and their submittal to the authority of law.”
According to Representative Qais Al-Ameri of the United Iraqi Alliance Bloc, “Obtaining a second nationality was the result of political circumstances, but now it is no longer needed.” He expressed his respect for the states which hosted Iraqis during the previous period. The states helped save Iraqis’ lives from the tyranny of the former regime. But he called on officials in the Iraqi state to forfeit their dual nationalities to give full respect to their Iraqi nationality, noting that many Iraqi officials carry dual nationalities. “In accordance with the Iraqi Constitution and the law that is to be passed, they must forfeit the second nationality and accept the Iraqi nationality with pride and regard it with high esteem for its distinction and privileges,” Representative Qais said.
Sadrist Bloc representative, Baha Al-Araji, said that nearly 50 members of the Council of Representatives possess dual nationality, pointing out the importance of this law given that every representative of parliament represents a major position and must adhere to the law. Representative Baha explained that the two members of the Presidential Council of the Republic, President Jalal Al-Talabani, his deputy Adil Abd Al-Mahdi, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih all have dual nationality, as do ministers of the government.
For his part, Representative Qais Al-Ameri told the Iraqi government not to take any steps on this subject by presenting a draft bill requiring officials in the state or the security services or Iraqi ministries to forfeit their second nationality to hold on to their positions, stating that a large number of the members of the Council of Representatives have demands on this issue. He noted that there is a draft law that has been presented by one of the parliamentary blocs—without mentioning its name—to formulate this law and present it to the Council of Representatives. The representative explained that the major predicament the law faces is the mechanism for identifying the governing positions to which the law will be applied. It will be necessary to confirm the work of the parliamentary committees in identifying these positions.
Representative Karim Al-Yaaqoubi of the Al-Fadila Islamic Parliamentary Bloc said, “There are indications that the governing positions are the Presidential Council, the Council of Ministers, members of the Prime Ministerial Commission, the ministers, representatives, ambassadors, high-ranking individuals, governors, members of the provincial councils, high-ranking leaders in the Iraqi army, officials in the Iraqi security services and Iraqi national intelligence, and justices of the federal courts and the court of cassation.”
The passing of the law for the forfeiture of second nationalities may satisfy unceasing popular demands to prevent those with dual nationalities from taking high-level positions, so that they cannot flee from Iraq if the Integrity Commission issues judgments against them. The law will reassure Iraqi citizens that the government continues to work on reigning in these officials.