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Middle East
Iraq parliament holds first meeting
MPs meet for first time since elections, but fail to discuss new government formation.
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2010 09:34 GMT
MPs said they need more time to discuss alliances and choose a president [EPA]

Iraq's parliament has held its first session since elections in March, but the brief meeting ended without any discussions on who will be the country's next leader.

The Monday morning session lasted less than 20 minutes before it was adjourned for further discussions on forming the next government.

The meeting ended without discussing any official business after members of parliament were sworn in.

Fouad Masoum, the MP who chaired the session, said legislators need more time to discuss the makeup of the next government. They had been expected to discuss candidates for a new president and parliamentary speaker.

"It was decided that we elect a speaker and two deputies according to the constitution," Masoum said.

"We had consultations with the blocs this morning and we found that we need more time. Therefore this session is open, to be resumed another time."

The brief meeting was a formality: The supreme court certified the election results on June 1, and Iraqi law required parliament to convene within 15 days of that decision.

Political stalemate

Iraqi politics have remained deadlocked since the March 7 election, and it could be weeks before MPs finally agree on a new government.

The Iraqiya bloc, led by former prime minister Iyad Allawi, took 91 seats, the largest plurality in the 325-seat parliament.  But Allawi has been unable to find coalition partners.

Two other blocs - prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law coalition, and the Iraqi National Alliance, a group of predominantly Shia parties - have announced plans to form a governing coalition.

But that coalition, called the National Alliance, is still four seats shy of a parliamentary majority.

And its members have not yet agreed on a candidate for prime minister. Al-Maliki is hoping to keep his job, but elements of the Iraqi National Alliance - particularly Moqtada al-Sadr's party - do not want the prime minister to serve a second term.

Parliament did not set a date for its next meeting.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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