Iraq's parliament fails to elect speaker amid boycott, sources say

Tuesday 4th September, 2018

Accra, Sept. 4 - (DPA/GNA) – Iraq's new parliament failed to elect a speaker and two deputies after Tuesday's session was boycotted by several groups, according to parliamentary sources.

Temporary speaker Mohamed Ali Zeini, chosen to lead the session as the oldest Member of Parliament, set September 15 for the step, the sources added.

Parliament met on Monday for the first time since it was elected on May 12, with two alliances claiming that they formed the largest parliamentary bloc with the right to name the new prime minister.

One of the two alliances is led by current Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, while the other is led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and militia leader Hadi al-Amiri.

Al-Sadr's coalition had won the largest number of seats in the elections, while al-Abadi's bloc finished third.

But no electoral coalition secured a clear majority in the polls, Iraq's first since Baghdad declared victory over the Islamic State radical militia in December after a US-backed campaign.

By custom, the prime minister should be a Shiite, the speaker a Sunni and the president a Kurd.

The parliament's four-year mandate expired on June 30, when the current government turned into a caretaker cabinet with limited powers to run the country until a vote recount was completed following allegations of fraud.

The final results were endorsed by the Federal Supreme Court on August 20.