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Court orders Iraqi parliament back to work

iraqi-parliament pakistan newsBAGHDAD: Iraq’s highest court on Sunday ordered parliament to resume work, after a nearly eight-month political deadlock which has left the country with a house in recess and without a new government.

Federal Supreme Court spokesman Abdul Sattar Bayrakdar said parliament was ordered to convene and elect a new speaker, the first step to forming a coalition in Iraq, which has been without a government since the March 7 poll.

“In a decision taken today, the supreme court ordered parliament to return to its regular meetings and do its regular work,” Mr Bayrakdar said.

“It must start by choosing the speaker and two deputies, and then proceed step-by-step for the other nominations,” said the spokesman for the court whose rulings can not be appealed.

The Sunni-dominated Iraqiya bloc of former premier Iyad Allawi narrowly won the election with 91 seats in the 325-member parliament, followed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shia State of Law Alliance with 89.

Neither has been able to muster the majority needed to form a government, despite back-door negotiations with various Shia, Sunni and Kurdish blocs that also picked up seats.

The charities and pressure groups brought a case against caretaker parliament speaker Fuad Massum on August 16, accusing him of violating the constitution by leaving the Council of Representatives’ first session open, with no progress on the election of a new speaker.

That, they alleged, was blocking the election of a new national president and prime minister.

Mr Massum, who holds his post by virtue of being parliament’s oldest lawmaker, had conceded that leaving parliament’s first session open “was a violation of the constitution”. But he had also said he was ready to defend his decision.

On Sunday, Mr Massum said that the court ruling was “a correct decision. I will follow it, and I call on all MPs to do the same”, although he had not received notification from the court about when to convene.

Sunni MP Salim Abdullah said he believed “it could be this week or early next week”.—AFP

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