New Iraqi parliament holds brief symbolic session

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

BAGHDAD (AP) - It only met for 20 minutes -- amid sharp divisions over key government positions -- but Iraq's new parliament convened today, three months after inconclusive elections.

It was little more than a symbolic inaugural session of a government that remains in a precarious political limbo.

Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is battling to keep his job after a rival bloc backed by Sunnis narrowly won the most seats in the March 7 balloting.

Al-Maliki watched as his chief rival, Ayad Allawi, who heads the rival bloc, and other lawmakers stood to take the oath of office.

The choice of a parliament speaker and a president had to be put off. They are part of the negotiations between major political blocs over the rest of the new leadership - including a prime minister and top cabinet officials.

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