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New Iraqi Parliament Holds First Session


Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's cross-sectarian Iraqiya alliance narrowly won the March 7 vote -- but fell well short of securing a majority.
The Iraqi parliament has held its first session, three months after the March 7 parliamentary elections.

The election resulted in political stalemate, with no political leader managing to form a viable majority.

The inaugural parliamentary session on June 14 is seen as a major step toward the forming of a government, but it appears likely it would still take weeks for political factions to agree on a choice of a prime minister.

Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's cross-sectarian Iraqyia alliance, which had support from minority Sunnis, narrowly won the election -- but it fell well short of taking a majority.

Two leading Shi'ite blocs, meanwhile, have recently formed an alliance, but they are also four seats short of a majority and have so far not been able to agree on a leader to put forward for the post of prime minister.

Lawmakers were supposed to pick a speaker at the session, but Fouad Masoum, a Kurdish lawmaker and one of the oldest deputies who presided over the session said political parties needed more time for consultation.

compiled from agency reports