Iraqi president rejects 2018 draft budget over "constitutional violations"

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-13 22:24:52|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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BAGHDAD, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi President Fuad Masoum on Tuesday rejected a bill for the country's 2018 federal budget, which the Iraqi parliament endorsed earlier, over constitutional, legal and financial violations, threatening to paralyze the federal government ahead of the country's parliamentary elections slated for May 12.

A statement by Masoum's office said in a statement that the president returned the bill to the Council of Representatives (parliament) to re-examine the draft budget for constitutional, legal and financial violations.

Masoum, the Kurdish Iraqi president, pointed out that there are about 31 points in the bill that intersect with the current legislations, according to the statement.

"The return of the budget came after legal and financial experts and advisers studied and scrutinized the draft budget in detail to specify the most important constitutional, legal and financial violations of some of the articles or items that need to be addressed before ratification," the statement said.

On March 3, the Iraqi parliament endorsed a bill for the country's 2018 federal budget with about 77 billion U.S. dollars and a deficit of about 10 billion dollars, after months of heated debate among the political blocs over multiple controversial items, including the 17-percent allocation from the national budget for the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The government has rejected the regular 17-percent allocation for the Kurdish region, but decided to allocate a share for each of the three regional Kurdish provinces according to their population, the budget showed.

The Kurds, however, are not willing to accept anything less than a 17-percent share, saying there has not been a census in Iraq since 1987.

The 58-article budget was based on an average oil price of 46 dollars per barrel and export of 3.888 million barrels of crude oil per day (bpd), including 250,000 bpd exported from the Kurdish region.

According to Iraqi law, the annual budget must be approved by the Iraqi presidency following the parliamentary approval.