The High Federal Court in Iraq ratified on Monday a ruling that requires candidates wishing to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections to hold a Baccalaureate school certificate or its equivalent.
This means that 35 MPs, who have been serving in parliament since 2005, are now barred from running in the May 12 polls.
Dozens of lawmakers had filed an appeal over the original ruling, but the court rejected them, saying on Monday they do not have a constitutional basis.
Mohammed al-Karbouli is among the barred lawmakers. He deemed the ruling as being “clearly” politically motivated. The MP is a member of the security and defense parliamentary committee and he has been twice elected to parliament.
MP Ala Talabani echoed her colleague’s stance, adding that holding a university degree is not a condition for candidates to run for elections in the majority of parliaments throughout the world.
Legal counsel Ahmed al-Abadi defended the federal court order, saying that it respects the Iraqi constitution.
The Iraqi parliament’s press office announced later on Monday that currently 40 lawmakers hold a doctorate degree, 31 a masters a degree, 173 hold a Baccalaureate certificate, 19 hold a diploma and 53 have a preparatory certificate,
Karbouli, who has a preparatory certificate, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Political work does not take place at parliament, but it is popular work.”
The ruling “is targeted against sides that sense the importance of our efforts and they are not pleased with that,” he noted.
Talabani, who is the niece of late Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the court order “will not deter us from continuing political work.”