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Iraqi parliament fails to choose speaker as federal court to decide winning coalition

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BAGHDAD: Iraq’s parliament held its first session on Monday since May elections but failed to elect a speaker as the two main rival blocs both insisted they had the largest number of seats to form a coalition government.

Muqtada Al-Sadr, one of the most influential Iraqi clerics, whose Sairoon Alliance came first in the elections, said on Sunday he had secured 188 members for his coalition.

A few hours later, Al-Sadr’s arch rival, the former Iraqi prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki, and the head of an alliance of pro-Iranian parties, Hadi Al-Amiri, claimed they had managed to pull together a 145-seat coalition.

Representatives from either side both requested to register their coalitions as the triumphant alliance.

The biggest bloc has the exclusive right to form a government.

The race to form the biggest alliance has been ongoing since the preliminary results of the election.

The first session of parliament was attended by the 297 newly-elected MPs, who swore the constitutional oath.

Shortly after, MPs loyal to Al-Amiri and Al-Maliki, as well as Kurdish MPs, pulled out of the session to block the quorum required to register the largest bloc.

Jamal Al-Assadi, a government legal expert, told Arab News that the two sides were disputing the technicalities of how they managed to secure their coalitions.
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