Amending Iraq’s Constitution

Iraq’s constitutional reform process must avoid past mistakes

In October last year, the Iraqi parliament approved a new government with a mandate to jump-start political reforms. Among its priorities is the amendment of Iraq’s problematic constitution.

When previous Iraqi governments undertook constitutional reform, they closed off the general population from the process. Some attempts to be inclusive were made, including through a very small number of consultations with civil society organisations, but those meetings were unstructured, and the results were generally ignored. The discussions that took place were limited to elite circles, and no momentum or public interest was built around the process.

If the new initiative is to work, a much broader range of voices must be included to help constitutional negotiators determine the real order of priorities, instead of just focusing on the same issues that have been consuming them in the past. This should and can happen through a number of means, including by encouraging Iraqis to express their priorities en masse.

Zaid al-Ali Senior Program Manager at International IDEA