Parliamentary Council and the Openness on Public Opinion: opening Communication Channels with Citizens and responding to their Demands through enacting Laws and practicing Regulatory Role

Aug 10, 2021


17 July 2021

12:10-1:00 pm, the Second Session:

The Facilitator of the session, Mr. Salih Al-Hamadani who is a media presenter and journalist, opened the second session of the works of Point-Iraq 3.0, which was held on Saturday, 17th July, 2021, on The Station Hall building, welcoming the speakers through introducing and inviting them to go on the stage.


The facilitator, who was the interviewer of the session, started it with a question directed to Mr. Younadim Kennah, as the Chairman of Civil Society Institutions and Parliamentary Development Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, about the communication channels that are provided to the citizens by the Parliament. Kennah answered: "those channels are implemented within their pursuit to reform the situation regarding the communication channels between the MPs and the citizens through technology, yet there are many challenges preventing that.


Regarding the new Elections Law, Kennah said that: "previously, Iraq was one electoral constituency. However, the positive transformation of the new Elections Law leads to communication channels between the citizens and the representatives, as a representative resembles his own electoral constituency, and will be in touch with the citizens through his own office. Through this office, the candidate is able to recognize the issues of people closely and pursue their own laws", indicating that: "the Iraqi representative also faces challenges. In all the world wide parliaments, the representatives inside their headquarters have private rooms that enable them to communicate with the citizens. Thus, the communication is true and existed, and that is not provided for the Iraqi MPs, as there are little offices inside each committee".


He pointed out that: "the parliament is responsible for conveying and implementing those experiences, although there are some bodies that set up impediments to stop the development inside the parliament, which reflects on the service of the citizens".


Talking about development, Kennah said: "we, in Iraq, think about development, but we think narrowly about the development plan. We can preserve people through finding a balanced development plan, as the natural resources are weakening while population is increasing. In Iraq, the number of the employees in the public sector is ten times more than those in Britain".


Salih Al-Hamadani asked Younadim Kennah another question: "why don't you support the private sector?"


Kennah answered: "because we destroyed industry and agriculture, besides that the government became unable to employ the great numbers of the graduates. The most important reasons that led to worsening the problem are the poor planning and administration and the continuous corruption".


Regarding post-graduate certificates holders, Kennah said: "what worsened the problem of the post-graduate certificates holders is the expansion of seats that is granted yearly. This affirms that the failure from what Iraq is suffering in this field is resembled by the inconsistency between the educational outcomes and the requirements of labor market".


The facilitator of the session asked Ms. Rawaa Al-Jaff, the head of Watan Gathering for post-graduate certificates holders in Iraq, about their experience in communicating with the parliament to activate the Law of Appointing Post-Graduate Certificates Holders.


Rawaa said: "the dilemma of post-graduate certificates holders after 2003 was the continuous demand of their rights. Because there are no ways to communicate with the parliament, we were forced to hit the streets to claim our rights, until we achieved that in 2017, when we obtained the Law No (59) of 2017", illustrating that: "the MP has to play their regulatory role in pursuing the application of the law after being enacted. Sorrowfully, through our experience, we haven't witnessed any pursue of laws after being enacted to be effective by them".


Al-Jaff complained about: "the fact that the public sector appointments are partisan, which is the opposite of what have been approved by the law, and that most of the MPs are uncooperative". She wondered: "why aren't they electronic platforms that enables the communication between the MPs and the citizens?"


From his part, Rauf Mohammed Noori- the Chairman of Tawasoul Organization for Youth Empowerment, and the Supervisor of Public Opinion Platform Project, said: "the offices of the Parliament in governorates should make people aware of the legislative and regulatory roles of the representative. On the other side, there should be statistics for the attendance and absence inside the sessions of the Parliament, which makes the citizens able to know the legislative and regulatory roles of the representative". He added: "through our work in the Public Opinion Platform, we worked on observing the legislative and regulatory roles played by each of the MPs and the representative committees, through calculative algorithms that was developed inside the website that allow knowing the number of questions and interrogations directed to the officials by the representatives, besides the number of the hosts and field visits that have been carried out. Moreover, there is the number of proposals of laws that have been presented". He indicated that: "those statistics have been observed through following up the official website of the Iraqi Parliament and the official profiles of the representatives on social media websites, besides what have been observed through following up local media after getting checked".


Noori affirmed: "the importance of each citizens and representatives understanding of the roles have to be played by the representatives, as they have to understand the powers granted by the constitution to the MPs, besides the commitments imposed on them, adding to the importance of understanding the role that should be played by the citizen, which we make sure to explain through the website of Public Opinion Platform and related social media platforms, through continuous awareness".


The facilitator of the session asked Mr. Rauf Mohammed Noori: "the offices of the Parliament in governorates are inactive connections, what should those offices do to activate them? Is it possible that advocacy campaigns through social media websites have a role in conveying the demands of the citizens?"


Rauf Mohammed Noori answered: "we do not want to keep the communication between the citizen and the representative through social media platforms within the pressure campaigns that are organized to change some policy or enact a specific law. What we are seeking to achieve is the direct, continuous communication with the representatives, that does not require to be carried out through the offices of the Parliament in the governorates, as it could be through the direct communication with the parliamentary committees through a specialized employee and a phone number and an email specialized for communication, besides to direct meetings. Public Opinion Platform could be a space for communication and building bridges between the citizens and the representative committees through the website pages that have been developed for this purpose, when the communication channels between the representatives, after winning a parliamentary seat in the Iraqi Parliament, and the citizens are interrupted".