L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority
PSA- The Transitional Administrative Law
Separation of Powers
I am Paul Bremer, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
On June 30, the Coalition will pass sovereignty to an Iraqi Government. Iraqi
sovereignty means occupation ends and the Coalition Provisional Authority will
no longer exist. As the end of occupation and the rebirth of Iraqi sovereignty
draw closer, I want to answer questions you may have about how your government
will be structured during the transition from occupation to a directly elected,
constitutional government. A key characteristic of the interim government which
will exercise authority is that it is designed to prevent the concentration of
power in any one person or small group of people.
As spelled out by your Transitional Administrative Law, you will have four
elections in the 18 months that follow sovereignty. The first two, which must
take place no later than next January, are to elect a National Assembly and
assemblies for each governate. Iraqis will then write a permanent constitution,
so the third election will be to vote on whether to accept that constitution. No
later than December 15, 2005, you will have a fourth election in which you will
elect people to lead the government that your new, permanent constitution
But until that constitution is written, there must be a basic law, a set of
rules to define and limit the role government plays in each of your lives. That
is the function of the Transitional Administrative Law. It is “transitional”
because it lasts only for the transition from the end of the occupation on June
30, 2004 to the elected, constitutional government you will have by December 31,
The Transitional Administrative Law has strong protections of individual rights,
rights such as freedom of religious belief and practice, freedom of speech and
freedom of movement. But Iraqis know as well as anyone that even good laws have
no value if the government does not obey or enforce them.
Governments can have tremendous power. And when that governmental power becomes
concentrated in one person’s hands, or among a small group of people, the
people’s rights are often trampled. It happened to you right here in Iraq under
the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.
That is why the Iraqi Governing Council, as they wrote your Transitional
Administrative Law, carefully separated powers in the new Iraqi government.
One of the ways your Transitional Administrative Law protects you is by making
sure that no one has the authority to override any law. When power becomes
concentrated in one person or one small group, terrible things can and do
happen. Iraqis do not have to imagine such things. You have seen it
happen—individuals were put to death for crimes that were never committed and
people punished for actions that were never defined as crimes. No longer will
the head of government be able to fire judges—or worse—just because he does not
like their decisions.
Under your Transitional Administrative Law, the powers of the state are clearly
separated and therefore balanced.
• The prime minister and the Council of Ministers are chosen by the legislature
and must account to them for their actions. The legislature can remove any or
all of them.
• The presidency will have the authority to veto any law passed by the
• The judicial branch will have the authority not only to hear complaints by
citizens about government conduct, but also the authority to order redress.
Since your Transitional Administrative Law has deliberately placed these
different state powers in multiple hands, the extensive rights guaranteed to
each citizen are not dependent on the whims of one person or one small group.
Because the powers of government are separated among different groups, no one
part of government will be able to ignore your rights or abuse you.
The separation of powers embedded in the Transitional Administrative Law is one
of your strongest protections against tyranny and arbitrary government. This is
one of the ways in which the Transitional Administrative Law will protect you
while the National Assembly you will elect prepares your new, permanent
Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed.