July 27, 2010 / 9:57 AM / 9 years ago

Iraq postpones meeting of parliament again

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi lawmakers called off a session of parliament on Tuesday, saying they needed more time to decide who will hold the nation’s highest offices, members of parliament said.

The scheduled session, which would have been just the second since a March 7 election that produced no clear winner, was postponed before it started.

No date was set for a new meeting.

More than four and a half months after the vote, Iraq’s Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish political factions have been unable to reach an agreement on who will be prime minister. Lawmakers have repeatedly said the top offices, prime minister, president and speaker of parliament, must all be decided together.

“The session remains open. The blocs asked for another opportunity for extra time to agree on the three,” said Abbas al-Bayati, an MP from the State of Law bloc of incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The cross-sectarian Iraqiya alliance led by secularist former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi won 91 seats in the March election, two more than Maliki’s coalition.

Because no bloc scored a clear win, factions have been negotiating to bring together enough seats for a parliamentary majority. But they have been unable to agree on a prime minister, with both Maliki and Allawi laying claim to the post.

Parliament’s second session had previously been scheduled two weeks ago but was postponed. At that time some lawmakers said the constitutional deadline for picking a new president had been violated.

Reporting by Rania El Gamal and Suadad al-Salhy, writing by Jim Loney; Editing by Matthew Jones

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