Iraq’s main parliamentary alliance splits after speaker quits

December 25th, 2008 - 1:55 am ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Dec 25 (DPA) Iraq’s main Sunni parliamentary alliance, the Iraqi Accord Front (IAF), split Wednesday, a day after the resignation of the parliamentary speaker Mahmoud Mashaddani.Iraqi National Dialogue Council (INDC), to which al-Mashhadani belongs, withdrew from the IAF because the alliance had “failed to fulfil its duty,” INDC chief Khalaf al-Alyan said.

Al-Mashhadani announced his resignation after lawmakers engaged in a quarrel over an Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush at a press conference Dec 14. Al-Mashhadani became locked in a dispute with lawmakers, some of whom accused him of insulting them in parliament.

He was pressured by the ruling Shia and Kurdish parties to resign. The Iraq Accord Front did not support him.

The split in the IAF could further weaken parliament’s Sunni bloc, which holds a minority of the seats in the parliament. Sunnis in Iraq often complain of discrimination by the Shia-led government, which came to power after a US invasion that removed former president Saddam Hussein.

After the 2005 elections, the IAF acquired 44 seats in the 275-seat legislature. The alliance is now comprised of the Iraqi Islamic Party under the leadership of Iraq’s vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi and the National Dialogue Front.

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