EBRIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Parliament on Saturday elected Sunni lawmaker Mohammed al-Halbousi as its speaker, marking the first step toward the formation of a new government four months after the country’s national elections.
Born in 1981, Halbousi was the governor of the Sunni-majority province of Anbar — one of the main battlegrounds of the war against the Islamic State — before he won a seat in parliament during the May 12 elections.
On Saturday, he beat other Sunni nominees for the position of parliament speaker with a large margin, winning 169 votes out of 329 seats in the assembly.
Iraq continues to follow its traditional system of power-sharing where the speaker of parliament is always a Sunni Arab while the Prime Minister is picked from the Shia majority and the President is a Kurd.
In their first meeting on Sept. 3, when newly-elected MPs were sworn in, lawmakers failed to elect a speaker, parliament’s first step in the process of forming a new government.
The election of the speaker comes as parties across the country are engaged in intense negotiations to create the largest parliamentary bloc in the assembly which would ultimately lead to the formation of the new Federal Government of Iraq.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany