Iraq's Supreme Federal Court on Tuesday invalidated a law that effectively blocked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [official website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive] from pursuing a third term in the nation's upcoming elections. Iraqi parliament members passed the measure [AP report] in January to limit the offices of premier, president and parliament speaker to two terms. Opponents of the law reportedly argued that, pursuant to the Iraqi constitution, draft laws must be proposed by the cabinet or the president, not by parliament. al-Maliki became the nation's first prime minister in 2006 and won reelection in 2010 despite political conflict and instability.
Political instability has plagued Iraq since the Iraq War [JURIST backgrounder] began on March 20, 2003, with an invasion by US-led forces. In October 2010 the Iraqi Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that the seven-month delay in forming a government following the March parliamentary elections was unconstitutional, ordering parliament to reconvene. In August 2010 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called [JURIST report] 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. In June 2010 the Iraqi Supreme Court ratified [JURIST report] the final results of the nation's March 7 parliamentary elections, officially confirming a narrow victory for the secular Iraqiya alliance.