New Parliamentary Session Abandoned

By John Lee.

Sunnis and Kurds walked out of the first session of Iraq's new parliament on Tuesday after Shi'ites failed to name a prime minister to replace Nuri al-Maliki, according to Reuters.

With Shi'ites failing to name a prime minister, Sunnis and Kurds refused to return to the chamber after a recess.

The Shi'ite National Alliance, in which Maliki's State of Law coalition is the biggest group, has met repeatedly in recent days but has so far been unable either to endorse Maliki for a third term or to name an alternative. Mr. Maliki was seeking a third, four-year term as prime minister.

Sunni politician Osama al-Nujaifi, former speaker, warned that "without a political solution, the sound of weapons will be loud, and the country will enter a black tunnel".

Under a governing system put in place after the removal of Saddam Hussein, the prime minister has always been a member of the Shi'ite majority, the speaker of parliament a Sunni and the largely ceremonial president a Kurd.

Parliament is not likely to meet again for at least a week.

(Source: Reuters, WSJ)

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