Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Middle east

Parliament opens as political wrangling continues

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-14

The Iraqi government opened its second parliament to an uncertain future on Monday, given that the March 7 general election stalemate has left the country without a viable coalition to rule. US combat troops are to leave Iraq in two months' time.

AFP - Iraq moved to bolster its shaky democracy on Monday with the opening of its second parliament since the US-led ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003, more than three months after an election stalemate.
   
The playing of the national anthem signalled the start of the inaugural session of the Council of Representatives shortly after 11:00 am (0800 GMT), as hundreds of MPs and dignitaries gathered for the occasion.
   
No political leader has managed to assemble a viable coalition since a March 7 general election, leaving the future path of the nation's institutions unclear only two months before US combat troops leave the war-battered country.
   
The parliamentary session was a largely procedural affair, with MPs taking the oath collectively.
   
"The opening will be a protocol session and will not bring any practical results," Hamid Fadhel, a professor of political science at Baghdad University, told AFP earlier.
   
Diplomats and politicians have warned a new government continues to appear some way off, possibly months.
   
US forces are steadily being pulled out of Iraq and a new administration in Baghdad is seen as key to a smooth withdrawal of all American soldiers -- 88,000 remain in country -- by the end of 2011.
   
Former premier Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya bloc won most seats, 91, in the election, followed closely by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law Alliance, which won 89, but neither has won enough backing from other parties to form a government.
   
Allawi and Maliki shook hands in the parliament chamber shortly before Monday's opening session. The two men held a long-awaited meeting on Saturday, which was described as "friendly and positive."
   
Fadhel, however, cautioned that Allawi's insistence that he has the moral right to lead the country, having won the ballot, and Maliki's refusal to bend, makes further delays likely.
   
"These negotiations will need more time, there will be a long argument that takes months, because it will not end shortly," he said.
   
Despite losing the election, Maliki has battled to retain his post, calling for multiple recounts of ballots he said were fraudulent, which delayed the certification of results until earlier this month.
   
State of Law has also formed a coalition with the election's third-placed grouping, the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), in a bid to cancel out Allawi's narrow lead.
   
But the newly created National Alliance still remains four seats short of the 163 seats it needs for a majority in the 325-seat parliament, and has yet to name a leader it will put forward for the post of prime minister.
   
As a result, the selection of a new parliamentary speaker and president -- meant to precede the naming of a new premier -- is likely to be part of a grand bargain between Iraq's competing political blocs and religious groups.
   
And that will further complicate the formation of a new government.
   
Several MPs have likened the current government formation process to that which followed Iraq's first post-invasion parliamentary elections in 2005, when six months passed before a prime minister was chosen.
   
At the time, Iraq's competing religious groups jockeyed for key posts, with a Shiite taking the premiership, a Sunni Arab being named parliament speaker, and a Kurd becoming president.
   
Violence, meanwhile, remains endemic in Iraq. Government figures showed 337 people were killed in unrest in May, the fourth time this year the overall death toll has been higher than in the same month of 2009.

Date created : 2010-06-14

  • IRAQ

    Iraqi MP from Allawi's Iraqiya bloc is shot dead in Mosul

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Deadly explosion rocks market in Diyala province

    Read more

COMMENT(S)