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Iraq Parliament session breaks up in chaos as lawmakers walk out

Published on Jul 2, 2014 12:27 AM

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's new Parliament broke up in chaos on Tuesday, with lawmakers walking out and making threats despite global calls for the formation of a government needed to face a Sunni militant onslaught.

After a break called to calm soaring tempers, so many Sunni and Kurdish deputies stayed away that the quorum was lost, so a speaker could not be elected as was constitutionally required, and the session ended in disarray.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's bid for a third term has been battered by the jihadist-led offensive that has seized large chunks of five provinces, adding fuel to dissatisfaction over persistent allegations of sectarianism and monopolising power. The crisis has alarmed world leaders, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and polarised Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish populations.

The disunity quickly manifested itself in what was the opening session of a Parliament elected in April, which included walkouts, threats and confusion over the Constitution. Kurdish lawmaker Najiba Najib initially interrupted efforts to select a new speaker, calling on the federal government to "end the blockade" and send withheld budget funds to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

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