Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Parliament fails to get a quorum for its inaugural session

Yesterday Adnan al-Dulaimi announced that the bloc he leads (Iraqi Accord Front, Sunni, 44 parliamentary seats) is joining with the Iraqi List or Wifaq party (25 seats) led by Ayad Allawi. (This was the first actual announcement of any other group joining with Allawi, although there have been a lot of premature claims along those lines).

Today, the Fadhila party, which has 15 seats in the legislature, and is probably the strongest local power in Basra, said it is withdrawing from the Shiite coalition led by Abdulaziz al-Hakim (United Iraqi Alliance UIA, alias Unified Iraqi Coalition, UIC), and will sit in parliament as an independent party, in order to underline its opposition to any coalition-forming based on religion or sect. Fadhila did not announce that it was joining the Allawi group, merely that it was withdrawing from the UIA. (The UIA includes Hakim's SCIRI, the Dawa party to which Maliki belongs, and, officially at least, the Sadrists). A report elsewhere that Fadhila and others have already joined with the Allawi group is incorrect.

Also yesterday, it was announced that the Iraqi parliament attempted to meet for the inaugural session of the new parliamentary period, but failed to reach a quorum. A member of the UIA explained to the Aswat al-Iraq reporter that they are going to try again on Monday. The reporter asked the UIA person about the list of potential criminal cases including against parliamentarians, said to be in the possession of Maliki, and the UIA person said: The first step will have to be a request from the judicial authorities for lifting parliamentary privilege for whatever persons they think should be investigated, and only then will parliament have to act.

The journalist notes that the new schedule means the next big political event will be the Baghdad meeting with neighboring countries, the US, and security council members, scheduled for Saturday.


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