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Iraq's new parliament holds maiden session

A general view of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad. - Reuters
A general view of the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad. - Reuters

BAGHDAD: Iraq's recently elected parliament met on Sunday for its first session, about three months after early elections in which pro-Iranian groups suffered significant losses.

The results sparked street protests from supporters of the political parties which fared poorly in the parliamentary polls, brought forward in response to months-long street protests in favour of reform.

Last month, the Iraqi federal court approved the results of the October election, and confirmed the victory of the influential Moqtada al Sadr.

Al Sadr's bloc secured 73 seats in the 329-strong parliament, according to the final results.

That was well ahead of the second-placed Al Aqdum (Progress) coalition, which got 37 seats, meaning al-Sadr is likely to form the next government.

Parliamentarians from Al Sadr's bloc Sunday walked into the assembly in the capital Baghdad wearing white sashes symbolizing death shrouds, following the tradition of Mohammed al Sadr, the late father of Moqtada, witnesses said.

Some independent lawmakers, meanwhile, reached the assembly riding tuk-tuks, or motorized rickshaws, from Baghdad's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of anti-government protests that erupted in October 2019,the witnesses added

Tuk-tuks were used to transport the injured during the violent demonstrations.

Members of the parliament, which has a four-year mandate, took the constitutional oath at Sunday's session headed by MP Mahmoud al Mashhadani, being the oldest lawmaker, pending the election of a speaker.

Many Iraqis have little faith in politics and had not expected the recent election to change the balance of power.

Oil-rich Iraq has been struggling with economic and political crises for years. - dpa

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