BAGHDAD, July 12 (Xinhua) -- A UN envoy on Saturday warned that Iraq could plunge into chaos if its lawmakers fail to move forward on electing new leaders in the upcoming parliament session.
"I call on all parliamentarians to attend the forthcoming session of the Council of Representatives on Sunday," Nickolay Mladenov, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq and Head of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, said in a statement.
"Failing to move forward on electing new speaker, new president, and new government will only serve the interests of those who seek to divide the people of Iraq and destroy their chances for peace and prosperity," he said.
On July 1, the newly-elected parliament failed in its first session to agree on electing a new speaker and two deputies.
Iraq's parliament on Tuesday set Sunday for its next session, changing earlier decision to convene on August 12, which was seen too long for the country.
Mladenov said that it is the time for moving forward and compromising in the interest of the Iraqi people, who need a team that can bring people together, adding that "the first step is the election of a new speaker during Sunday's scheduled parliament session."
The UN envoy said that a functioning parliament will allow Iraq to work together against terrorism, revitalize the political process through which the concerns of all communities can be addressed, alleviate the humanitarian suffering of over one million people and ensure that human rights and democratic achievements are protected.
His warning came as the country has been struggling with some of the worst violence in years. About a month ago, armed Sunni insurgents, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, launched surprise offensives on Iraqi security forces, quickly capturing a large chunk of the country's northern and western territories.