Iraqi parliament fails to elect new Speaker

Baghdad, May 19 (IANS): The Iraqi parliament failed to elect a new Speaker on Saturday due to wrangling between parliamentary political blocs.

The parliament's Acting Speaker Mohsen al-Mandalawi adjourned the session until further notice, after the third round of voting ended in failure, Xinhua news agency reported.

The session was chaired by al-Mandalawi, with the attendance of 311 lawmakers out of the parliament's 329 seats to elect a new Speaker to replace Mohammed al-Halbousi, who was sacked six months ago over legal violations.

According to a statement by its media office, the parliament first convened to hold a second direct ballot, which showed Salim al-Eisawi came first with 158 votes, followed by former Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani with 137 votes.

The second round of voting came after the parliament failed in the first round on January 14 to elect a new Speaker.

According to Iraqi law, if a candidate fails to gain an absolute majority of parliament seats, which is 50 per cent plus one, or 166 votes, another round of direct secret ballot will be held for the competing candidates.

As no candidate met the election criteria in the second round, the parliament had to proceed with a third round of voting. But, shortly after the lawmakers entered the hall, a fight broke out among them, prompting al-Mandalawi to adjourn the session.



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