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Government: In accordance with Provisional Constitution
of July 16, 1970, executive and legislative powers exercised by
Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), chairman of which is also
president of country. First parliamentary elections held in June
1980, resulting in First National Assembly. Second National
Assembly elected in October 1984; National Assembly has generally
met twice annually as provided in Constitution and exercises
legislative functions together with RCC, which has ultimate
decision- making authority.
Politics: Political system was under firm control of
Baath (Arab Socialist Resurrection) Party. Party's high command,
called Regional Command, was headed in 1988 by President Saddam
Husayn, who held title of secretary general of the Regional
Command and was also chairman of the RCC; vice chairman of the
RCC and presumably successor to Saddam was Izzat Ibrahim; vice
president was Taha Muhy ad Din Maruf. Government and political
leadership interchangeable because members of Regional Command
also members of RCC. Political activities, where they existed,
carried out within framework of Progressive National Front (PNF),
of which Iraq Communist Party (ICP) was a participant. Some
Kurdish and independent progressive groups also included in PNF.
Politics of opposition outside PNF banned for all practical
Administrative Divisions: In 1988 eighteen governorates
or provinces, each divided into districts and subdistricts.
Limited self-rule was granted to Kurds in three northern
governorates officially known as
Autonomous Region (see Glossary)
and popularly known as Kurdistan (land of the Kurds).
Judicial System: Administratively under jurisdiction of
Ministry of Justice but theoretically independent under the
Constitution. All judges appointed by president. Court of
Cassation, highest court of land; personal status disputes
handled by religious community courts (Islamic law--or sharia, or
other). Country divided into five appellate districts.
International Affairs: Major issue was war with Iran
since 1980 and attempts at a peace settlement, which resulted in
cease-fire in August 1988. In 1980s Iraq moved from close
friendship with Soviet Union to rapprochement with United States
(diplomatic relations reestablished in 1984), cordial relations
with Western Europe, especially France, and good relations with
Persian Gulf states and Jordan. Iraqi relations with Syria, which
supported Iran in the war, were cool.
Data as of May 1988