Iraq’s parliament passes emergency food bill

Iraqi lawmakers on Wednesday passed an emergency bill that will allow the government to transfer public funds to meet urgent needs for food security as months of political deadlock have left the country without a budget.

The Emergency Law for Food Security and Development is meant to allocate 25 trillion Iraqi dinars ($17.14 billion) to the government to buy wheat, rice, gas and energy, pay salaries, among other things.

Political disagreement among parties have hindered the election of a president months after an October general election from which cleric Moqtada al-Sadr emerged the biggest winner, with his Shia, pro-Iran rivals receiving a hammering at the polls.

The failure to elect a president is seen as a setback to al-Sadr and his alliance, but the passing of the bill is considered a victory for al-Sadr who proposed the law.

The law will be immediately enforced and will be valid until a national budget is approved.

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