Iraq parliament opens for first meeting after polls

The ceremony gave way to political reality as it ended only 20 minutes later, reflecting the failure of political groups to assemble a viable coalition since a March 7 general election.

Iraq parliament opens for first meeting after polls

Iraq's parliament convened on Monday for the first time since a March election.

"On behalf of the Iraqi people we open the first session of parliament," said re-elected Kurdish lawmaker Fouad Masoum, one of the chamber's oldest members and picked to open the session.

But the ceremony gave way to political reality as it ended only 20 minutes later, reflecting the failure of political groups to assemble a viable coalition since a March 7 general election.

The inaugural parliamentary session more than three months after the March 7 vote was a major step toward the establishment of a government but it appeared likely it would still take weeks for political factions to agree on a choice of prime minister.

Former premier Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya bloc, with 91 seats, won the election, followed closely by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law Alliance, on 89 seats, but neither has won enough backing from other parties to form a government.

Allawi and Maliki shook hands in parliament shortly before Monday's opening session. The two men held a long-awaited meeting on Saturday, which was described as "friendly and positive."

That has led to weeks of political wrangling as political groups sought to build coalitions that would give them the clout needed to pick the next government.

Maliki's ambitions to be reappointed as prime minister are opposed by Sadr's followers.

Masoum said parliament was supposed to pick a speaker on Monday but political parties needed more time for consultation. Politicians said it would take several days to reach consensus.


Agencies

Last Mod: 14 Haziran 2010, 17:02
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