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Iraq To Replace Parliament Speaker Deemed Offensive

Former Iraqi parliament speaker Mahmud al-Mashhadani
BAGHDAD -- Arab Sunni factions will meet in Baghdad on January 10 to nominate a replacement for Iraqi parliament speaker Mahmud al-Mashhadani, who resigned following protests over his temper and offensive language.

The speaker post is reserved for Sunni Arabs, and the new parliament head will be chosen on January 11.

Al-Mashhadani reportedly called suicide bombers who kill Americans "heroes."

Abdul-Karim al-Samarrae, a leading member of the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF) and deputy chairman of parliament's Defense and Security Committee, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that all factions affiliated with the IAF will nominate a candidate for speaker, one of whom will be selected by consensus or voted in.

Al-Samarrae added that the same procedure was followed when al-Mashhadani was named speaker in April 2006.

The IAF is the main Sunni bloc in parliament with 33 seats.