Middle East

Iraqi VP calls for 'dialogue' amid row over parliament

Largest bloc in Iraq’s newly-elected parliament will have right to draw up country’s next government

04.09.2018
Iraqi VP calls for 'dialogue' amid row over parliament

Iraq

By Ali Mohamed

ERBIL, Iraq 

Iyad Allawi, Iraqi vice-president and leader of the Al-Wataniya coalition, has urged political parties and groups to hold a “national dialogue” with a view to resolving an ongoing dispute over the country’s next government.

Allawi issued his appeal on Tuesday after Iraq’s newly-elected parliament failed to elect -- for the second day in a row -- a new assembly speaker.

“As expected, parliament was unable to choose a new speaker -- along with two deputies -- amid deep-seated polarization,” he said.

Allawi went on to invite the country’s leading political powers to take part in a session of “national dialogue” with a view to resolving their outstanding differences.

A Monday assembly session -- the first of the season -- saw fierce disagreements between rival coalitions (Al-Bina and Reform & Construction), both of which claimed to have attained a parliamentary majority.

At a Tuesday session attended by only 85 of 329 MPs, parliament decided to postpone the vote for new speaker until mid-September.

Under Iraq’s constitution, the majority bloc in parliament has the right to draw up the country’s next government.

Among the most prominent nominees for the speaker post is Osama al-Nujaifi, a prominent Sunni politician.

According to results of Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary poll, Muqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon Coalition won 54 seats, followed by a Hashd al-Shaabi-led coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's Victory Bloc (42 seats).

Within 30 days of holding its first session, parliament will elect -- by a two-thirds majority -- the country’s next president.

The president will then task the majority bloc with drawing up a new government, which must be referred back to the assembly for final approval.

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