BAGHDAD, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Iraq's newly-elected parliament failed Tuesday to agree on electing a new speaker and two deputies, while the acting speaker had to adjourn the session for many lawmakers walked out on him.
Senior lawmaker Mahdi al-Hafidh chaired the session as the 255 lawmakers, who attended the session of the 328-seat parliament, took their oath of office in languages of their own ethnicity.
Later, a chaos flared between Kurdish and Shiite lawmakers forcing al-Hafidh to announce a recess for more discussion over the nomination of the legislative body's new leadership.
However, the acting speaker Mahdi al-Hafidh after a while ended the proceedings as most of the Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers did not return to the session following the recess, creating a lack of a quorum required for the session.
Al-Hafidh told the lawmakers in the opening session that "the latest security setback must be brought to an end, and security and stability must be regained all over the country so that the country can go in the right path to the future."
He also urged unity among all Iraqis, despite their sects and races, saying for that to happen, respect for all, and the adoption of professional criteria in building institutions are needed.
According to the Iraqi constitution, a new president should be chosen within the next 30 days after the election of the speaker and two deputies.
Following that, the new head of state will have two weeks to ask the bloc with the most lawmakers to nominate a prime minister, who will be responsible for forming a new government.
The duration for a prime minister-designate to select his cabinet members, and present the list to the parliament is 30 days.
After the session, a newly-formed Sunni political gathering, named Alliance of National Powers, said in a statement that the Sunni lawmakers walked out of the parliament session because there was no agreement between the political blocs about the nomination of the new top posts: speaker, president and prime minister, in addition to the lack of a clear governmental program that may ensure a change in the governance of the country.
The alliance, includes the political blocs of the outgoing speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, secular Salih al-Mutlak, Salim al- Jubouri and others, said that the Sunni alliance's lawmakers had attended the parliament session because they want to "show a respect to the constitutional timetable, but they found it appropriate to limit their presence in the opening session of the Council of Representatives (parliament) on taking their oaths only, and then to give a chance for dialogue to reach a satisfactory political solution."
The statement also called for the Iraqi lawmakers to differentiate between Islamic State (IS) terrorist acts and the " legitimate popular protests that have escalated by the authority's repression and disregard and went on to the extent of an armed rebellion."
"Any attempt to describe the protesters as terrorists is a tendentious and condemned description that does not serve the stability of our country," the statement warned, referring to the militant groups of the Sunni tribes and the previous anti- U.S. Sunni armed groups who took up their arms recently against the Shiite-led government.
The alliance also called for a ceasefire among all fighting parties in the Sunni-dominated provinces to isolate IS militants from the tribal fighters and nationalist Sunni militant groups, the statement added.
With the country's ever deepening security crisis, a new unity government is now considered vital for Iraq to counter the Sunni insurgency that threatens to split the country apart.
The Sunni Arabs have been carrying out wide-spread and regular protests since December 2012, complaining about injustice, marginalization, discrimination, double standards and politicization of the judicial system. They also accused the Shiite-dominated security forces of indiscriminate arresting, torturing and killing their sons.
On June 10, Sunni militant groups, including those who are linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaida offshoot, quickly took over key cities of Mosul and Tikrit, as well as other northern and western parts of Sunni heartland as the Iraqi security forces were driven into disarray when waves of surprise attacks were mounted against them.
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