Iraqi parliament postpones election of assembly speaker

By Ibrahim Saleh

BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraq’s newly-elected parliament on Tuesday postponed the election of a new assembly speaker to mid-September after a number of lawmakers decided to boycott the vote.

Attended by only 85 of 329 MPs, Tuesday’s session had been convened to choose a new speaker — along with two deputies — after the initial vote was postponed a day earlier.

A Monday session — parliament’s first of the season — saw fierce disagreements between rival coalitions (Al-Bina and Reform & Construction), both of which claimed to have attained a majority bloc in the assembly.

Under Iraq’s constitution, the majority bloc in parliament has the right to draw up the country’s next government.

Among the most prominent nominees for the post of speaker is Osama al-Nujaifi, a prominent Sunni politician.

According to results of Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary poll, Muqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon Coalition won 54 seats, followed by a Hashd al-Shaabi-led coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's Victory Bloc (42 seats).

Within 30 days of holding its first session, parliament will elect — by a two-thirds majority — the country’s next president.

The president will then task the majority bloc in parliament with drawing up a new government, which must be referred back to the assembly for approval.

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