BAGHDAD The inability of Iraq's parliament to agree on a new government in its first session was a "regrettable failure", Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said in a Friday sermon delivered by his aide.
"Last Tuesday the first session of parliament convened. People were optimistic that this would be a good start for this council in its commitment to the constitutional and legal texts," his aide, Ahmed al-Safi, said in the sermon.
"But what happened afterwards, in that the speaker and his deputies were not elected before the session finished, was a regrettable failure."
Sistani also reiterated his call that the new government should have "broad national acceptance".
(Reporting by Isra al-Rubei'i and Raheem Salman; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Alison Williams)