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UN SG calls for 'sense of urgency' in forming Iraq government

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] on Wednesday called [report, PDF] for Iraq's political leaders to work together "with a higher sense of urgency" to form a new government, warning that further delays could create more instability. Since holding elections [JURIST report] five months ago, there have been disagreements within the country as to who has the authority to build the new government [UN release], Moon told the UN Security Council Wednesday morning. Moon outlined the possible consequences of a government not being formed quickly:

I am concerned that continued delays in the government formation process are contributing to a growing sense of uncertainty in the country. Not only does this risk undermining confidence in the political process, but elements opposed to Iraq's democratic transition may try to exploit the situation. The number of recent security incidents throughout Iraq, mainly in the north of the country and in Baghdad, including attacks against newly elected members of parliament and religious pilgrims, are of particular concern.
Once this process is completed, Moon said the government can turn its attention to pressing domestic issues including Arab-Kurdish disputed areas revenue-sharing, the adoption of legislation related to hydrocarbons, relations among the federal and regional governments, the constitutional review process and the strengthening of institutions of governance and the rule of law.

Iraq has faced several obstacles in solidifying the nation's newly-created democratic government, which has been riddled with tension between Shiite Muslims and the Sunni minority. In June, the UN urged the Iraqi government to ratify the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [text; JURIST report]. Iraq remains one of 45 member-countries that have yet to ratify the treaty. Also in June, the Iraqi Supreme Court ratified the final results [JURIST report] of the country's March 7 parliamentary elections, officially confirming a narrow victory for the secular Iraqiya alliance, led by Iyad Allawi [Al Jazeera profile]. The victory gave Iraqiya a slim two-seat lead over the Shiite State of Law [party website] coalition of incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile]. Allawi hopes Iraqiya's victory will be a turning point for bipartisan participation among the religious sects, but his goal of unification may be thwarted, as Maliki's bloc has already announced an alliance with the Shia Iraqi National Alliance, which polled third, to form the largest grouping in parliament.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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