Monday, 27 August, 2018 – 18:45 –
Iraq’s new parliament will meet next week for the first time since the May elections as political powers continue to tussle over forming the largest bloc at the legislature.
The inaugural session of the 329-seat chamber would be chaired by its oldest member, President Fuad Masum said in a decree calling for the sitting to take place on September 3.
The meeting of parliament was delayed by allegations of fraud that prompted the supreme court to order a partial manual recount of the results of the May 12 election.
Next Monday’s session will be devoted to electing a new speaker, a post traditionally handed to a member of Iraq’s Sunni community, and two deputy speakers.
Parliamentarians will then have 30 days to elect a new president for the country, a position that goes to a member of the Kurdish minority with at least two thirds of the vote.
Kurdish parties have yet to officially announce candidates for the top post of president.
The new president will then have 15 days to task the largest bloc in parliament to form a new government.
Negotiations to form such a parliamentary coalition capable of forming a new government have yet to bear fruit, as many alliances were forged but were later dissolved.
But experts point to two blocs that appear ready to face off to form a new government.
One is led by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi who has struck coalition agreements with elections victor Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoun alliance, Ammar al-Hakim’s Al-Hikma list (19 seats), and the Wataniya list of outgoing secular vice president Iyad Allawi (21 seats).
The other bloc is led by the Fateh which has formed an alliance with the list of former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki (26 seats).