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Iraq parliament elects pro-Iran list candidate as speaker

AFP  |  Baghdad 

The elected the candidate of a pro-list as on Saturday, paving the way for the formation of a more than four months after legislative polls.

The country has been in since the May 12 ballot, but the of a is expected to solidify new parliamentary alliances. has a proportional system aimed at preventing a slide back into dictatorship following the 2003 ouster of

The lists elected during legislative polls must first form coalitions. The bloc with the most members appoints the and presides over the formation of the next

The pro-bloc led by -- a coalition of anti-jihadist veterans close to -- looked positioned to take the lead Saturday after the of its candidate,

The new was governor of the Sunni-majority province of Anbar, a key battleground in the war against the Islamic State group, before his to parliament on a local list in May.

Born in 1981, he will be the youngest speaker of parliament in Iraq's history. His two deputies were expected to be chosen later on Saturday.

During the vote, Halbusi pleaded for "real reforms", particularly after demonstrations last week in the southern of turned deadly as protesters demanded improved and railed against corruption.

In Iraq, the speaker of parliament is always Sunni Arab while the is picked from the country's Shiite majority and the is a Kurd.

Parliamentary coalitions -- which bring together lists of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to form the largest group -- must agree on the selection of the three positions.

Halbusi ran against three other candidates, including Vice and former

Obeidi was backed by the list of outgoing Haider al-Abadi, who said Thursday he would not seek a second term as his political support crumbled over the violence in

has been at the epicentre of protests that broke out in July in the southern province before spreading to other parts of the country.

Anger in Basra flared earlier this month over a growing health crisis, after more than 30,000 people were hospitalised by pollution in the city's water supply.

Protesters flooded the streets for five days, clashing with security forces and torching the provincial headquarters, the and the offices of armed groups.

Twelve demonstrators were killed in the clashes, with rights groups accusing security forces of using excessive force.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, September 15 2018. 18:50 IST