Iraq parliament to ignore constitution on meeting deadline

Iraq parliament to ignore constitution on meeting deadline

[JURIST] Iraq's newly-elected parliament will ignore a constitutional provision on setting the date for their first meeting, officials announced Monday. According to the constitution [JURIST news archive; JURIST document], approved in the 2005 October referendum [JURIST report], parliament is to meet 15 days after the final certification of an election to elect a speaker and president. Final results [JURIST report] of the December 15 election [JURIST report] were announced last week and certification is expected around February 3, resulting in a constitutional deadline for the first parliamentary meeting around February 18. According to officials, however, rival factions need time to negotiate and have yet to establish a timetable for the first meeting. While the constitution specifies consecutive selection of leadership positions, party leaders have agreed that they intend to present key positions simultaneously at the meeting, and would like to identify a president, prime minister and speaker before that time. According to Abbas al-Bayati, a Shiite official, consensus has been reached to retain Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani [BBC profile] as president and to give the Shiite Alliance the right to name the prime minister. Sunni leaders would then be able to propose a choice for speaker. Reuters has more.