December 23, 2008 / 3:41 PM / 11 years ago

Speaker of Iraqi parliament resigns

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s parliament voted on Tuesday to accept the resignation of its speaker, clearing the way for lawmakers to consider a measure allowing British and other foreign troops to stay in Iraq after December 31.

Shi’ite and Kurdish lawmakers called for the resignation of Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a Sunni Arab physician who became speaker in 2006, after he insulted deputies in a session last week.

“We hope that this event will not mark a deterioration in the political situation or a continuation of power-sharing based on sectarianism,” said deputy Usama al-Nujaifi.

The controversy over Mashhadani has bogged down a vote on a proposal that would allow 4,100 British troops, along with troops from Australia, El Salvador, Romania and Estonia and NATO to remain in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires on December 31.

It was not immediately clear who would replace Mashhadani.

Reporting by Waleed Ibrahim; Writing by Missy Ryan; editing by Elizabeth Piper

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