Iraqi Sunni parliament bloc chooses nominee for speaker

Under Iraq’s post-invasion constitution, post of parliamentary speaker is reserved for a Sunni

Iraqi Sunni parliament bloc chooses nominee for speaker

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.