Coordination Framework urges former parliament speaker to withdraw

Coordination Framework urges former parliament speaker to withdraw

Shafaq News/ A leading figure in Iraq's Shiite Coordination Framework, the largest parliamentary bloc, warned against transforming the parliament to a focal point for further discord, calling for a resolution to the ongoing deadlock surrounding the speakership.

The framework, which mainly includes influential Shiite parties, called on the former Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani to consider withdrawing his candidacy in favor of rival candidate Salim al-Issawi.

"Following the events of Saturday's parliamentary session to elect the Speaker, a solution is necessary," said Hasan Fadham. "If Speaker al-Mashhadani maintains his position through pressure on lawmakers, the parliament's remaining tenure risks being marred by disputes, hindering its ability to function effectively."

Fadham emphasized broad consensus within the Coordination Framework against the continuation of Muhsin al-Mandalawi, a Shiite Fayli Kurd, as Speaker. "The priority lies in restoring stability to the political system," he said. "A swift resolution to the speakership question is essential."

The largely ceremonial role of president traditionally goes to a Kurd, that of prime minister to a Shiite, while the speaker of parliament is usually Sunni. But parliament is dominated by the coalition of pro-Iran Shiite parties, reflecting the country's largest religious group.

Yesterday, Iraq's lawmakers failed to elect a speaker as neither of the two main candidates secured a majority during a tense session of parliament.

It is the latest in a series of failed attempts to replace the former head of parliament who was dismissed in November, with political bickering and divisions between key Sunni parties derailing every effort so far.

The parliament's media office announced that 137 lawmakers chose Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the oldest MP, while 158 picked Salem al-Issawi.

However, candidates require at least 165 votes to win.

The new speaker will replace Mohammad al-Halboosi, the influential politician dismissed by Iraq's top court in November after a lawmaker accused him of forging a resignation letter.

Al-Halboosi has been the country's highest-ranking Sunni official since he first became a speaker in 2018.

The new speaker's stint will not last long with the general election due in 2025.

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