UPDATE: Iraqi parliament elects former Anbar governor as new speaker

Iraqi parliament.

Baghdad ( The Iraqi parliament elected on Saturday former governor of Anbar province, Mohamed al-Halbusi, as its new speaker, Iraqi media reported after an internal poll ended.

Mohamed Ali Zeini, the temporary speaker, had declared a list of four Sunni final runners, including former defense minister Khaled al-Obaidi, current Iraqi Vice President Usama al-Nujaifi, former Anbar governor Mohamed al-Halbusi, and former MP Raad al-Dahlaki.

Halbusi had served as a member of the parliament’s finance committee in the last session.

The parliament failed earlier this month to elect a new speaker due to arguments between political alliances over who had secured the largest bloc that is supposed to form the new government.

Based on a political agreement adopted since the ouster of late leader Saddam Hussein, Kurds assume Iraq’s presidency, Sunnis are entitled to parliament speaker, and Shias hold the prime minister’s office.

Iraq parliament elections, the first since the defeat of Islamic State militants, were held last May amid judicial challenges that prompted a recount of votes.

Halbusi is the leader of a minor list that is allied with the Islah and Emaar (Reform and Reconstruction), which comprises Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s and Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s lists.

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