By Arif Yusuf and Ali Jawad
BAGHDAD (AA) – The National Axis, a Sunni-leaning parliamentary bloc, has nominated Mohamed al-Halbusi for the post of speaker of Iraq’s recently-elected parliament.
In a statement, National Axis spokesman Laith al-Deleimi said the bloc had chosen its “sole nominee” for the post, which, under Iraq’s constitution (promulgated after the 2003 U.S. invasion), is reserved for a Sunni Muslim.
A National Axis source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that the bloc had informed other parliamentary coalitions regarding al-Halbusi’s nomination.
The source added, however, that the position of parliament’s main Shia and Kurdish blocs regarding al-Halbusi’s candidacy “still remains unclear”.
Other prominent Sunni politicians nominated for the post include former Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi and current Vice-President Osama al-Nujaifi.
On Saturday, parliament will try — for the third time — to elect a new assembly speaker, along with two deputies.
Last week, parliament postponed the election for speaker to mid-September after a number of lawmakers decided to boycott the vote.
Within 30 days of its first session, which was held early last week, parliament should elect — by a two-thirds majority — the country’s next president, according to the terms of the constitution.
The new president will then task the majority bloc in parliament with drawing up a government, the outlines of which must be referred back to the assembly for final approval.