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Iraq still without parliament speaker five months after Halbusi’s ouster

Previous parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi was removed from office in November, and parliament has yet to agree on a successor amid political controversies, including allegations related to former ruler Saddam Hussein.
Iraqis stand outside parliament building, or Council of Representatives, in the Green Zone, Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 27, 2020.

Iraq is still without a parliament speaker nearly five months after the removal of Mohammed al-Halbusi. Recent court cases are complicating efforts to choose a new speaker, and the lack of a successor has left a leadership void that is affecting the country’s sectarian power-sharing arrangement.

The Iraqi Federal Supreme Court ended Halbusi's term in November. The decision related to a case against Halbusi by another Sunni member of parliament, Laith al-Dulaimi. Early last year, Dulaimi accused Halbusi of forging his signature on a resignation letter. Both men were formally removed from the legislative body by the court in the November ruling.

Parliamentary deadlock

The Iraqi parliament held a vote on electing a new speaker in January. Shaalan al-Karim, who is supported by Halbusi, received 152 votes, while Salim al-Eisawi, the candidate backed by Sunni business mogul Khamis Khanjar, received 97 votes, and former speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani received 48 votes. All failed to receive a majority of support from the 329-member parliament, meaning at least 165 votes. 

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