x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Iraq parliament to meet in July, reversing earlier decision

It was unclear what prompted the about-turn after lawmakers initially said they would postpone a crucial parliament session until August 12.

Mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Abdullah Swadi, a member of an Iraqi volunteer forces group who was killed during clashes with Islamic militants, his family said, during his funeral procession in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on July 8, 2014. Jaber Al Helo / AP
Mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Abdullah Swadi, a member of an Iraqi volunteer forces group who was killed during clashes with Islamic militants, his family said, during his funeral procession in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on July 8, 2014. Jaber Al Helo / AP

BAGHDAD // Iraq’s parliament will meet next week to work on forming a new government, reversing an earlier decision to adjourn until August despite a sweeping offensive by militants.

“The new date will be Sunday, July 13, instead of August 12,” an employee in the office of presiding MP Mahdi Hafez said.

British ambassador to Baghdad, Simon Collis, and UN Iraq envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, both posted on Twitter that the date for the next parliamentary session will be July 13.

More than two months after an election in which Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki’s camp won the most seats – though not a majority – parliament has yet to make progress on filling the top three positions, which are split between the Shiite Arab, Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities.

A parliament session last week ended in chaos, with MPs trading heckles and threats before some eventually walked out, forcing an adjournment and preventing the election of a speaker as required by the constitution.

The political chaos comes with Iraq facing a militant-led offensive which has overrun large areas of five provinces and which security forces have struggled to stem.

* Agence France-Presse