Mohammed al-Halbusi re-elected as Iraqi parliament speaker

TEHRAN, Jan. 09 (MNA) – The Iraqi parliament held its first session to elect the speaker, the prime minister as well as the president, while there have been reports of tension over which blocs has the majority.

The first session of the fifth Iraqi parliament was held on Sunday.

The meeting was attended by 325 lawmakers and was chaired by Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the Sunni speaker of the parliament.

Tension reported as Iraqi parliament holds 1st session

The meeting was scheduled to take place at 11 am Baghdad local time, but as usual, factions demanded a postponement of several hours for consultation.

The lawmakers were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting. 

Tension reported as Iraqi parliament holds 1st session

The lawmakers with the Sadrist bloc appeared in donning white shrouds, chanting slogans in favor of the leader of the bloc cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Shiite blocs in the "Coordination Framework" submitted a document to the Sunni speaker of the Iraqi parliament, naming 88 members of parliament and identifying themselves as the majority faction. But, at the same time, the Sadrist bloc presented a list of the names of 76 representatives to al-Mashhadani declaring themselves as the majority faction. The move was followed by a skirmish at the parliament.

After the "Coordination Framework" was introduced as the majority bloc, Sadrist MPs shouted, "Yes, yes to reform." 

A scuffle broke out between the "Coordination Framework" and the Sadrist lawmakers.

Meanwhile, local Iraqi sources reported that Mahmoud al-Mashhadani's condition worsened following an argument between political groups and he was transferred to Ibn Sina Hospital in the Green Zone in the capital.

Moreover, the Sabereen News telegram channel also published an image, claiming that members of the Sadrist bloc had attacked Al-Mashhadani, which led to the worsening of his physical condition.

Some Iraqi sources say that the protesting MPs attacked al-Mashhadani and kicked his head with sticks. Some sources also say he was attacked with shoes.
Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad has said that Al-Mashhadani is not doing well.

Tension reported as Iraqi parliament holds 1st session

Following the incident and the deteriorating condition of al-Mashhadani, Khalid al-Daraji, the Sunni speaker of the Iraqi parliament, resumed the session.

Some reports said that Daraji first refused to accept to be the speaker for fear of being attacked.

Lawmakers with the State of Law coalition also held private meetings led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Moreover, the Al-Ghadir network in Iraq wrote that almost all coalitions had separate meetings with their representatives, including the Sunnis blocs and the Kurds.

The National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) also reported that former speaker al-Halbusi had also met with the Taqadam Bloc (led by al-Halbusi) and Azm or Resolve Bloc (led by Khamis Khanjar).

Decision Bloc said in a statement that it has left the Islah al-Watan coalition led by Sadrists to form a majority bloc, The Decision has reportedly vowed it would enter parliament as an independent faction.

The condition for membership in the Islah al-Watan was the absence of Nouri al-Maliki from the government.

The Patriotic Union of Iraqi Kurdistan (PUK) has also said that its choice for the Iraqi presidency is still unknown while the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) seeks the post this time. 

The NINA says that the KDP has nominated "Shakhawan Abdullah" as the second deputy speaker of parliament and he will be the party's candidate for the post.

At the end of the session, the lawmakers elected the former Sunni speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi with winning 200 votes while his opponent Mashhadani gained only 14 votes. As many as 14 votes were reported to be void and null. 

KI/TSNM2641074; 5395838

News Code 182706

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