Text of the President of the Republic’s Dialogue with al-Hurra Channel


H.E. Dr. Fuad Masum the President of the Republic held a dialogue with al-Hurra-Iraq satellite channel.
The following is the full text:
TV Presenter: Falah al-Thahabi: Welcome dear viewers. The demonstrations, how the Constitution dealt with demonstrators, and how the government dealt with demonstrators, what are the powers of the President of the Republic in Iraq? What is his position on the executions? Did the President of the Republic sign the law on the retirement of members of Parliament? ... and many questions will be discussed in a special episode with His Excellency President Fuad Masum, welcome to His Excellency the President.
President Fuad Masum: Welcome.
* Demonstrations are a guaranteed constitutional right
H.E. the President, let's start with the demonstrations. How do you look at these demonstrations? Are the demonstrators right to go out as demonstrators? Did the situation pressure them to the extent that pushed them out in demonstrations?
- The Constitution made it clear, it is the right of citizens to hold a demonstration on the basis of professional or political demands or anything related to them and they have the right to do so, and these demonstrations when we see them in fact are evidence of the vitality of the Iraqi people, but as the Constitution also allows or gives way for the demonstrations it also prevents that the demonstrations lead to a breach of public security or the loss or control of private or public property. The constitution clearly grants them the right to demonstrate and raise their demands and declare them. At the same time, the state or the security institutions must maintain the safety of the demonstrators. They must also protect the public property from any infiltration or penetration from within the demonstrations into such property.
* About the government dealing with demonstrators, there are a number of deaths, there are arrests. Are these constitutional or unconstitutional?
- This fact lies in the details, for example, have they taken the permission to demonstrate? Or did they just announce it? This is organized by law, here it is the laws that intervene. It is supposed to be the presence of the security services to protect demonstrators and public and private property, not killing them. Actually it means that the security services are not supposed to use firearms to disperse or to beat demonstrators.
* Is it right for parties to shoot at the demonstrators?
- Certainly no, this is a violation because those who use the weapon that is supposed to be the state's and not private entities, whether a party or a clan or any groups.
* Your Excellency has mentioned that they took a permission to demonstrate, is it to take a permission or notice to the government authority that we would go for a demonstration?
- It can be a notice, and it is supposed that the government agencies ask how the demonstration will be and where and where to go .. This is normal.
* In fact one of the posters published by one of the activists caught my attention. He says in it: "You are making me living in Somalia and want me to demonstrate in the way of France or Germany. What is your comment on this?"
- The problem of Iraq is that there is no room for work but within the government jobs, and this is a difficult problem, there supposed to be an opening and there are areas for the work of people and their employment and that the work is only through the governmental jobs, and this is difficult, the state cannot recruit the tens of thousands each year and another. This is difficult to implement so it must be a government policy that is based on the basis of opening space for investment projects and find work for those and not only confined to government recruitments in the departments of the state, official departments are now full of large numbers of staff and cannot do anything.
* Is this a mistake made by the government, to appoint personnel?
- These appointments, no, the government is now forced to do so in these current circumstances, but this process is supposed to be in accordance with the existence of space, opportunities, thinking and economic studies.
* I mean as a citizen I have water that is scarce and I do not have a job and there is no recruitments and there is no electricity and I have unemployment and I have no education ... The voice of people are cracked as they demand and speak out and no one answers, and forced people to go out with demonstrations. Does this count on them as a mess? While there is chaos elsewhere?
- Chaos is chaos wherever and wherever it is, but there should be social security. Two years ago, we prepared a social security project but found no room for the House of Representatives to approve, like other countries that have social security, job creation. If there are no jobs, it is possible to determine salaries for these families or groups until they find work. This social security can solve many problems.
* Those killed in demonstrations or arrested, who demands their rights?
- Certainly, the state supposed to be the sponsor of all affairs, then these dead, with great regret, there must be compensation for their families, as well as to discuss so as not to repeat this matter.
* From the constitutional point of view, the demonstration is constitutionally permissible, are the sit-ins constitutionally or not?
The constitutional text does not have sit-ins, but sit-ins also have to be seen, sometimes, and through our experience, it can lead to many problems, as sit-ins that took place in Anbar and then turned into other things and interventions for those who benefit from these conditions and enter within the protesters. This is what the individual fears.
* Are the sit-ins here Baathist!! They come and make here demonstrations also regarded to be Baathist!! However, the fact is that these people are thirsty and hungry?
* No, they are not Baathist. The accusation that every activity is a Baathist one is an exaggeration and an enlargement of the Baath's ability. I do not think that now in Iraq, there are people who belong to the Baath Party and want to return to their former lives. This is difficult.
* You are as Mr. Fuad Masum, are you with the demonstrators?
- Absolutely.
* And think their demands are legitimate?
- Yes, their demands are legitimate. For example, if the demonstrator does not have electricity or does not have water and also demands work, these are all legitimate demands. But at the same time we must say, but, the demonstrators must keep their position and do not allow room for interference and infiltration of other parties that harm the demonstrations.
* I mean, what am I doing, I am out to demonstrate, if someone comes, some indicate that some parties may enter numbers of its members to burn some documents on contracts and secret documents, is this possible?
- This is just an accusation, it is necessary to investigate these subjects, because whatever party ..
* Why is there no investigation into the demonstrators? Why are they accused arbitrarily?
- For example, if it is a mere accusation, it is not possible, but if there is evidence that there are parties involved, then these parties must be held accountable.
* On the other hand, as for the demonstrators, they must get an investigation and then they are accused as being infiltrators and Baathists ... This is true?
- When there is a demonstration, there supposed to be a leadership for these demonstrations and this leadership of the demonstration is also responsible at the same time, it must maintain a national demonstration, this is the fundamental point.
* The concept of citizenship that we have is almost absent.
- This is our big problem, because so far all the dealing is on a sectarian basis or on an ethnic or religious basis or something like that ..
* And therefore?
- We must reach the stage of citizenship, and that relations amongst citizens are based on citizenship and not on the basis of specific affiliations.
* Citizenship is take and give, but you just take from me and do not give me?!
- That is why if we get to the life of citizenship then many problems will be resolved, this is what we find in countries that include numbers of ethnicities, sects and different affiliations. The process of building the state is based on citizenship, we find there they have stability.
* Government dealing with demonstrators, means (10.000) position of employment here and ten thousand there in the south with protesters, is this constitutional?
- The issue of positions of employment related to the government, the Constitution does not intervene.
* does the government has the right to give such positions?
- The government has the right if this would be according to the general budget, but are these positions of employment or just contracts, this has to be clarified, and if it was only a temporary contracts this would be possible.
* This means to silence people?
- It means to address the present instantaneous situation.
* The issue of absorption of the indignation, ok why we get to the stage of absorption of indignation, throughout these years we did not find solutions, all through this period?
- Certainly this was supposed to be, not waiting for the final stage, so from the first day until now the treatments were not objective and therefore we are now in this current situation.
* Does it mean that there is no planning or management?
- How?
* I mean throughout this period there was no planning or management?
- There is a management, and in the past the budget was a good one, the price of oil was high and there was no sense of these problems, but when fighting began against ISIS or liberalization of areas seized by the terrorist organization of ISIS, as well as the sudden drop in oil prices, all of these have left an impact on the situation, so now the improvement has started and so it is supposed to be from now there is a preparation for the budget of 2019.
* It means that these positions of employment are not included in the budget?
- No, it's not included in the budget. But the government is supposed to look into the supplementary budget or anything like that.
* Is it true that they are giving to the south areas because they demonstrated and do not give to Mosul, Anbar and Salah al-Din because they did not demonstrate, so they do not get positions of employments?
- When there is room for opening positions or contracts, certainly it is supposed to be inclusive of all governorates that have this problem.
* Did you object to the issue of positions here?
- I did not object because the purpose is to address this situation, and then when the next parliament is formed, God willing, then it is his right to put these ideas there.
* You have said that you did not object to the job grades. Is it fair and fair to the Iraqi people? Is not there supposed to be an objection?
- Wherever they are needed.
* Those who were displaced in Al-Anbar, and whose budgets were delayed during the previous period are not in need?
- Definitely in need of it.
* They must do what?
- There are previous decisions that these displaced people must seek stability for them, and these exist, as well as international assistance have a role in this area.
* Do you think that the current situation in Iran is part of this escalation and then turned into an explosion? People felt that now Iran may be in a circumstance is not allowed to interfere with the Iraqi issue, and thus these citizens came out?
- Where?
* The demonstrators we have in Iraq?
- Did not understand the nature of the question?
* Now the situation in Iran is different from before the demonstrations, so perhaps these activists and demonstrators saw it as an appropriate circumstance?
- "I do not think there is a link between these demonstrations here and if there are other demonstrations there, there is no correlation because each country has its own specificity and its own status.
* And have no effect on us?
- I don't think so.
US sanctions on Iran
* Now there are US sanctions on Iran. A package of sanctions will begin to be implemented. Do you think the Iraqi government will abide by these sanctions?
- Iraq is a neighbor of Iran and the relations between the two countries are old and not new. One day, both countries were part of the Baghdad alliance, and when there was a change in Iran and became an Islamic republic, and then the change that took place in Iraq after 2003, relations became more and more stronger, but the circumstances of Iraq as well as the nature of the relationship with Iran and at the same time the many common interests, It may be difficult for Iraq to abide such decision, but our view in general that we must not be in conflicts with one party against another.
* If the European Union, China and Japan may comply with this ban, does Iraq have the power to not abide this ban?
- I do not think it will be a full commitment. There is a room remain, and if there is room as for Iraq, there is room, because the enormous pressure on Iran might have an Iranian reaction. All of these affect the situation of Iraq and the other countries that are adjacent to Iran, and it is not in our interest to enter this conflict.
*Iraq committed or not committed?
- It may be in some fields is committed and this must be discussed, not absolutely, but in terms of relations between the two countries and common interests do not make Iraq among those countries that stand against Iran and trying to impose sanctions on Iran as other countries.
* You means committed to parts and does not adhere to other parts?
"Perhaps, so far, this is my point of view, how it would be, but when these decisions actually begin and the United Nations then must be discussed, and it is not in Iraq's interest to cooperate with a party against any party, we had enough of what we got already.

I did not sign the law of retirement of the House of Representatives
* Let's start from the retirement of parliamentarians, everyone is talking about that Mr. President is the one who signed the law on retirement, what behind the scenes in this regard?
- I didn't sign the law that was issued in the last day of the Parliament period, they did an additions to it, the law was exist three months ago and I had the opinion that this law has constitutional and legal violations and its draft was unclear, but later they re-stated it and said, but later they brought it back and they said the law is complete and does not contain anything violations to the Constitution, and I am on my side in the articles of the Constitution, the sponsor of the political action and the guardian of the Constitution and... etc., all this is just talk, why? Because there is no mechanism in the Constitution for the exercise of this act, or a law defining the exercise of this work
*Why it did not happened, now you are called the guardian of the constitution?
- Several times and even when I came to this post I submitted a draft law of the Presidency, but this project remained in the presidential cabin and until now.
* Did you object?
- I objected but I cannot impose their will on them.
* But on the other hand, you are always accused, the Guardian of the constitution, but do not have powers?
- Yes, I do not have powers, I do not really own it, and they think that let it not matter wither wrong or not wrong, we offer and then if any party has an objection filed, a complaint or appeal may use to the Federal Court, and this means that this law in force for a long time after that the court can decide in this order and restore balance to this law, So I did not sign this law and I explained why I did not sign, and finally, after 15 days, this law became law.
* Become bound?
- Became a law, especially they usually put in the positive reasons write that this law works when published in the Official Gazette means the Iraqi facts, and if not published in the Iraqi facts,
 No party or person has the right to challenge this law.
* Including the President of the Republic?
- Including the President of the Republic, and the President of the Republic is not obliged to appeal, the appeal is open to every citizen, to all political parties affected by this law, and thus over time became a law, and then which signed by me is the referral of members of the House of Representatives from the President to the last name to retirement , this is a normal thing, retirement is under the prevailing law, in the law there is no statement (under this law), both pension law as it exists.
* It has nothing to do with the law they passed in parliament?
- These official bodies are the departments of the General Retirement Department, the Pension Department is the one who considers this matter, covered or not covered, number of years of service they have or do not have, and this is their problem. This is what I signed because this is something I owe and I must sign it.
* But they basically passed it and spread it with the Iraqi Gazette without your reference, and do not you have the right to object?
- On the basis of they said that there are no constitutional and legal violations and I do not have the authority such as the powers that existed previously in the sessions of the Governing Council and the National Council Provisional and the National Assembly, there were three people in the Presidency Council, one of whom was using Vito, that was particular in that stage, and when the application of the Constitution took this matter and therefore the President of the Republic does not the right to challenge any law because there is nothing in the Constitution refers to that, but there is the Council of the Union, it is supposed that it is the powers of the Union Council to re-enact the law, the first time to reconsider it, if they return it and make amendments, this is good and if they do not make amendments, the Council of the Union brings it back to parliament and there is an absolute majority to pass.
* Is the Council of the Union more like a Senate?
- It is more like a Senate, but this council has also submitted several projects. We, too, have submitted a project here, but the parliament is postponing and delaying.

Powers of the President of the Republic
* I will say a sentence and I hope to correct it, now the President of the Republic is called the patron of the Constitution, but this patron of the Constitution does not have the powers and did not sign and did not grant a law granting him the power to sponsor the Constitution, is this true?
- Until now, the constitution has not granted me a decision to stop any project or law. All I have to do is appeal to the federal court if I want to do so, and it is not binding, that's just what I have.
* Do you think there are political reasons behind this story?
- Maybe.
* What are their motives? With your appreciation.
- I mean political interpretations so I say probably, because these interpretations can vary from person to another.
* From a party to another?
- Yeah. Parliament in general insisted not to discuss the subject of the Council of the Union as well as the law of the Presidency of the Republic.
* The Kurdish side was with this approach or was it opposed?
- Some of them, like others.
* When you say parliament as if it is a whole unit
- Generally.
* Is the parliament a complete unit or parties?
- In general, there is already a legal committee, which responded to our project that this project contains constitutional irregularities, a Kurdish deputy in the Legal Committee.

The issue of executions
* There is also a lot of talk about the issue of executions. What is behind the scenes on this subject?
- On the occasion of the previous question, now we are in the process of forming a body of well-known personalities with its legal and constitutional expertise to submit draft constitutional amendments, and we need these amendments, and at the time was supposed to be in the House of Representatives get to these amendments, but the Commission was divided in the first session of the House of Representatives There were two groups within the committee, a group was with the adoption of the amendments that we agreed for about sixty articles, and another party was insisting on the need to agree on all the comments submitted, therefore, when the vote was made, the owners of the idea that all the comments submitted should be agreed upon are the majority within the committee and therefore stopped, so we again want to return the subject.
As for the question of the death penalty, the fact that executions are not an easy issue means that when an individual signs them, the execution of a person means the loss of a soul, Personally, I do not feel the desire for such signatures. The person always thinks, "There is always innocents in jail," as well as people who were executed and later found out that they were innocent.
* is this occurred?
- In Iraq I do not know, in this period no. Therefore, for the convenience of the conscience, we have a legal committee. When these files come to us, they do not contain all the details, they see the files as a file. There are criminal offenses, as for criminality, there is room only if the murderers are heinous, so I sign it without hesitation, such as a person who kills his father and mother and bury them in the garden of his house, this cannot be prevented by the individual and put it directly, as for the terrorism of al-Qaeda and a group of ISIS, that started to came earlier, first Spyker group and a week ago a files are came to us a group from Al-Qaeda and a section of ISIS, and I did not refrain from signing, I sign, but it is not reasonable that happened weekly, every week a pack of executions, then we must count the countries that have good relations with Iraq and is against the idea of executions, we should not open ourselves to repeated attacks on ourselves.
* How many people we have to execute every month?
- From time to time, and there are now more than (200) existing death sentences have not been implemented, and no one speaks about them.
* Why?
- I do not know for sure.
* Have you signed the executions and not implemented?
- Yes signed and its decree issued, but they are now alive. We are not following up if they implement it or not, this is not our job. But this is an urges, for example, one of the former ministers of human rights said that Fuad Masum does not sign the death decrees, and this is not right, and it has to be so and so…etc., I called and I said to him, Your Excellency, the Minister of Human Rights, you should have another tendency or pretend that you have a different tendency, not by talking like that in newspapers. A few days ago there was someone who considered himself a good jurist who was really respected but seemed to be under influence. He published an article saying that I did not sign executions and did not abide by court decisions, I am committed to the decisions of the court issued but I also have the right to make sure from the subject, and that strange thing is that he lives in Europe and subject to the laws, For example, there is a section of them who speak like this, but even if I am in my conviction and in my conscience against the execution, but by virtue of my position I must sign, but at the same time there must be consolation,
This committee, when considering these laws and confessions as well as evidence and decisions of appeal as well as the Court of Cassation, and the conviction through this committee that there is no shortage, this is an expectation.
* The committee is subordinate to the office of Your Excellency?
- Yeah.
* Are there people sentenced to death and you think that you are not convinced of the ruling and return it back?
- We did not return anything, for example there are some issues containing humanitarian aspects, perhaps there may be room for amnesty in a field. But not in terrorism.
* Is there political pressure on your sovereignty over the issue of execution, whether it is acquitted or executed?
- No, only these meetings that occur with other parties did not put this matter final, but some media sometimes, one of the parties or a person of the people want to stir this place for a specific purpose, otherwise, we have signed hundreds of these executions, but we do not issue them every day. Today we agreed to this, and this raises problems for us with countries that stand against execution.
* Are these countries right or wrong?
- The nature of societies, for example in the United States of America in some states there is execution and in some of them there is no execution so this is the nature of societies.

The political process and the formation of a new government
* Mr. President, these years have passed since 2003, Mr. Hadi Amiri said in a statement, we apologize to the Iraqi people for what we have done against him. Do you think that what has passed in these years is supposed to everyone to apologize for the Iraqi people?
- It would have been possible for the political action to be clearer and the official responsibilities more accurate and more interested, but Mr. Amiri has the courage when he said this, but I think the stage now is different from the previous stages.
* Why?
- It is different because, for example, in the past there was cohesion within the blocs. For example, the Kurdish group is cohesive, the Sunni group is cohesive, and so is the Shiite group.
- Non-uniform and thus now began a new idea, the formation of a majority or majority government, the majority varied.
* Is this possible?
- We are working from the first and until now in the idea of a national unity government.
*Is it really a government of national unity?
- With a broad base, but did not succeed, the government of national unity did not succeed, even in the Kurdistan region did not succeed, and the word "quota" when used where I think wrong, there are coalitions, coalitions between groups converged in the programs, in the understanding, but the quota has taken another meaning, the minister, when he is in charge of this ministry, makes the whole ministry subordinate to him through his relatives and through the party to which he belongs and through sectarianism, nationalism, etc.
* And become a fiefdom for the party?
- Yes, so quotas are serious in this sense, but the coalitions are necessary because, so far in Iraq, there are no parties able to run the elections alone and thus the problems are many.
* Mr. President now in the process of forming the government. Mr. Sistani spoke about the personality of the next Prime Minister. Are you with what Mr. al-Sistani went with, as did the 40 points of Mr. Moqtada al-Sadr?
- I think for that words of His Eminence Mr. Sistani are very accurate and I do not think there is a difference in views between what was raised from the religious reference, as well as Mr. Moqtada al-Sadr, he wrote a set of conditions that must be provided in the next prime minister, I did not find a difference in views, and certainly Mr. Moqtada al-Sadr is the largest political blocs now, but this bloc alone is unable to form a government, there must be an understanding and an agreement with other blocs to have a majority, and for the religious reference words, it cannot be neglected in any way, when they declare this opinion must be do so, courageous and firm .. Etc, this is an expression of the Iraqi crowd certainly.
* Let me stop at the idea of the Prime Minister and the formation of the government, the dual nationality, a lot of talk and talk about your Excellency also on this subject?
- When I officially took this position it was Thursday, on the first Monday after that I wrote a letter to the British ambassador, I thank the United Kingdom for giving me a passport that I can travel and make it easy for me. But now that I have assumed this position and under the Constitution, I do not have the right to have British citizenship, so I will return your passport with all due respect.
* And the others did what you did?
- Three months later I received a letter you are no longer a British citizen and I have to pay (150) pounds and I paid, I have announced this several times, but I have not heard that someone else who has done such thing, the strange thing is a former member of Parliament attacks me because I still carry a British passport, No, I do not carry the British passport, and if I were not President of the Republic I would hold it, because according to the Constitution dual nationality is possible, but as long as I am in this position I cannot carry dual citizenship, Iraqi and British.
* Others mean committing a constitutional violation when they have another passport?
- The Constitution does not identify senior officials, I think something like that.
* Let's talk about the formation of the government, Mr. Iyad Allawi, with the demonstrations, while questioning the results of the elections called for the formation of a government of rescue?
- I think the rescue government is not an easy matter, where is the legitimacy then? Does the constitution freeze?
* Is there no Guardian of the constitution and there is a federal court and there is a constitution?
- Even if we need laws, it is possible in some countries if they have a long absence of the House of Representatives, in Lebanon they call it legislation, as well as periods in Kuwait, but when the House of Representatives then looks at it, approves or cancels and puts another article, I find it difficult to form a national rescue government.
* By your conviction, did the elections take place properly?
- I think in the initial campaign when the results appeared then these started, and maybe some people have a role in it. They made a big noise and so on.
* Losers?
- Because before it, all the statements we do not want Parliament and we do not want such and such, all an attack on Parliament and the government as a result of all these attacks and campaigns that were ongoing and existing result has changed people, and who were certainly changed they did not agree to this situation.
* But the decision of the Federal Court was a comprehensive return,
Then what happened is a partial count?
- Comprehensive replay takes a lot of time.
* So why did they agree to a comprehensive return?
- As they see models, and then every station was in the previous Commission had to stab or cancel many boxes, many stations, they did this duty when they found doubts. But if it happened, and the results were identical only in simple parts of what was announced means to reconsider the position of the Commission, the charges against them must be removed, now they are a group of judges who do this and their words are certainly true because they are judges and their opinion is fundamental and then the respect to the Commission must be rehabilitated.
* Do you think that Muqtada al-Sadr can play the role of opposition?
- The fact of the blocs and convergence and discuss the unification of positions this is the responsibilities of the political blocs, and I am not the owner of the block.
* Your estimates?
- Wait and see how the result is.
* There are many names for prime minister, four have been talking about them. Do you think these are possible to have chances?
- This is also the result of agreements, if they agree on any one, this will be a candidate for prime minister.
* Did Mr. Abbadi have the chance to return to the premiership?
- All candidates have fortunes, as well as Dr. Haider Abadi.
* Do you think that now is a suitable time for a second term?
- Alone is difficult, must be the result of the blocks among them, if they agree it gets.
* Do you expect that they can agree on him?
- The nature of the blocs, so far these political blocs did not meet to discuss serious things, all just balloons and just words and compliments only.
* The subject of the presidency was raised a few days ago and a name was launched. Do you think that this is also a test balloon or a real issue?
- For these positions, everyone has the right to present himself as a candidate, and most of them are my friends and my relationship is good with them. I mean, I do not look at the subject from the personal side, neither is it right, and therefore when they come I make feast I do not have any problems.
* You show them the table and the place?
- But at the same time I am a man spent my whole life in the struggle and strengthen relations with various Iraqi circles, I was a teacher at the University of Basrah, as well as within the Iraqi opposition and the oldest of the Iraqi opposition who had a presence in the opposition meetings, I was elected and welcomed and it was my great honor to be President of the Republic of Iraq and where the distributions are now?
* A number of presidents came to you, they came for the examination, examination of the palace or ...?
- They are friends, they do not come to the palace, I asked them to come at home. Thus we see the result of blocs, the President of the Republic by divisions is for the Kurdish side as for the Sunnah parliament and the Shia prime minister, and this is related to the agreement of the Kurdish group, especially the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which I am one of its founders and committed to it as a party, as well as the Kurdistan Democratic Party and others, I have a good relationship with others, but the main role is for these two parties, when they agreed, welcome, and if their opinion was another person, I certainly do not want to impose myself, I am not fighting to be in this position.
* Mr. President, thank you very much, and thank you for making this possible, and we will meet inshallah you in future meetings to talk about the Iraqi issue.
- Thank You