Federalism and Iraq’s Constitutional Stalemate

This paper assesses the ongoing constitutional battle over the devolution of powers in Iraq and looks at the possibility of a long-term solution.
Research paper Published 27 November 2020 Updated 30 March 2021 ISBN: 978 1 78413 428 0
Politicians filing into the Iraqi parliament

Raad Alkadiri

Senior Director, Boston Consulting Group’s Center for Energy Impact

The issue of federalism in Iraq has been hugely disruptive since the establishment of the post-2003 state. Although the 2005 constitution backed a devolution of powers to regions and provinces, flaws in the document and the need for supporting legislation have allowed successive governments in Baghdad to resist limits on the power of the federal government. 

Efforts to reach a formal compromise between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government have failed, however, this paper argues that the status quo that has emerged as a result of this ongoing dispute may in fact offer a long-term solution.