In Iraq, MPs curse each other at the inaugural session of Parliament

MP Mahmoud Al-Machhadani, who chaired the inaugural session of the new Iraqi Parliament on Sunday January 9, 2022, was hospitalized after clashes broke out during the session, we learned from public television and MPs . Iraqi news agency INA then claimed his condition was « stable ». The meeting was suspended for over an hour, before resuming.

According to Kurdish MP Muthanna Amin, the inaugural session was “Normally started with the taking of the oath” of the 329 deputies elected in the legislative elections of October 10. Then, the Coordination Framework – a coalition of several Shiite parties – claimed to be the most important parliamentary alliance with 88 deputies, according to him.

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M. Machhadani “Then demanded that this information be verified, after which he was cursed and deputies attacked him”, declared Mr. Amin to Agence France-Presse without specifying the identity of the attackers, nor if his hospitalization was directly related to this attack. Videos obviously filmed by deputies showed elected officials revicting each other.

According to several parliamentary sources, the controversy is between the Coordination Framework and their rivals from the Sadrist current, named after the Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr. His current took away 73 of the 329 seats. Galvanized by this score, the Shiite leader has said on several occasions that he wants to constitute a “Majority government”. Its current and its partners intend to be in the majority in Parliament and to have the upper hand over the ministries and the appointment of the Prime Minister.

The Coordination Framework – to which several Shiite parties belong, including the Conquest Alliance, a political showcase for Popular Mobilization – does not understand it that way. He claims the prerogative of appointing the Prime Minister thanks to the 88 elected officials that he says he counts, that is to say 15 more than the Sadrist current.

Instability tinged with armed violence

MPs must get down to electing a Speaker of Parliament, a role traditionally assigned to a Sunni. Within thirty days of its inaugural session, Parliament must elect the President of the Republic. The latter will then have to appoint a prime minister, chosen by the largest coalition. Once appointed, the Prime Minister has thirty days to form a government.

Moqtada Sadr hinted that his preference was for an alliance with two Sunni formations, Azm and Taqadom, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Majority in the House, this coalition could then appoint a prime minister, a post which historically goes to a Shiite Muslim.

Also in the Shiite camp, the Conquest Alliance won only 17 seats against 48 in the outgoing Parliament. Party officials say the ballot was tainted with fraud, but their appeal to overturn the election was rejected by the courts.

The post-election period was marked by instability tinged with armed violence. Popular Mobilization supporters have expressed their anger at Baghdad’s ultra-secure “green zone”, which notably houses government buildings and the American embassy. On November 7, an unclaimed assassination attempt on Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, using drones trapped in his home, further exacerbated tensions.

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The World with AFP

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In Iraq, MPs curse each other at the inaugural session of Parliament

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