Saturday, April 22, 2006

Iraq's parliament meets.

(3:30 pm)

-The session as going to begin at any moment now.

-A member of the parliament said there's a technical problem with the A/C system in the convention center that is causing the delay. The session was planned to begin at 3 pm.

-Official spokesmen of political blocs sent written notes to the UIA in approval of the nomination of Jawad al-Maliki for PM according to UIA member Hasan al-Sineed.

-Members of the parliament are entering the convention hall and I can see that Ambassador Khalil Zad is here too.

(3:40 pm)

-The atmosphere looks friendly and Jafari is taking a tour greeting, hugging and shaking hands with many of the top politicians as well as the American ambassador.

-The speaker of parliament by age Adnan al-Pachachi prepares to announce the beginning of the session.

(3:50 pm)

-Adnan al-Pachachi orders bodyguards of all MPs out and summons all MPs who had not been sworn in during the first session to repeat the oath.

(3:55 pm)

-Pachachi opens the session and says choosing speaker of parliament and his two deputies will be through direct secret voting.
He asks for nomination to be submitted in a written note and says the names on nominees shall be announced in 15 minutes.

(3:57 pm)

-Someone surprises the parliament by nominating Salih al-Mutlaq for speaker of parliament but al-Mutlaq stands up and syas he "does not wish to be part of a sectarian distribution of governemnt posts" and withdraws the nomination.

(4:05 pm)

-Voting papers are distributed to the 266 present members of parliament.

(4:08 pm)

-Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the only nominee for speaker of parliament-upon request by some MPs-introduces himself and gives a short biography; he's a medical doctor, served in the military and ranked up to Major in the former army, thrown in prison by Saddam for opposing the Iraq-Iran war, has good ties with the Islamic Kurdistani movement, sentenced for death under Saddam's regime but the sentence was changed to 15 years in prison (through paying bribes as al-Mashhadani admits).
I have to admit it, the guy has a history in struggling against Saddam and enjoys a good sense of humor!

(4:30 pm)

-Counting the votes showed that al-Mashhadani won the post of speaker of parliament by 159 votes out of 256 actual voters with 97 papers left empty.

(4:50 pm)

-Nominee of the UIA sheikh Khalid al-Atiya for 1st deputy speaker of parliament gives a short biography Studied religion in Najaf, arrested three times under Saddam's regime, degrees in literature from Cairo and Lebanon, lectured in Oxford University as head of the Islamic studies institution 2000-2004.

-Aarif Tayfour nominee of the Kurdish Alliance for 2nd deputy speaker of parliament also introduced himself to the parliament, a lawyer and a leading figure of the KDP, fought the Ba'ath regime since 1973, escaped Iraq and stayed out for many years and returned after the 1991 uprising.

(5:20 pm)

-The two deputies won the necessary votes and Pachachi hands over the leadership of the parliament to the new speaker and deputies.
Mahmoud al-Mashhadani gives a short speech and asks the blocs to submit their nominnees for the presidency council "in one package".

The only slate submitted is that of Talabani for president and Aadil abdul Mahdi and Tariq al-Hashimi for deputies.

(5:50 pm)

-Some important points from Mashhadani's speech:

1-We will not let sectarianism lead the people of Iraq to internal fighting.
2-Consitution is the reference but this constitution is amendable and subject for improvement when necessary (indicates a desire to amend some articles).
3-We will not allow the marginalization of any group or segment of the people.
4-The legislative authority will not be an obstacle in the face of the executive authority but rather a watching eye.
5- Building and reforming the armed forces on basis of loyalty to the nation.

-Some objections to the speech:

1-Secretary of the communist party objected the use of words like "cutting the hands and tongues of aggressors" saying that "there shall be only rule of law in Iraq". This objection was applauded by most Mps but al-Mashhadani explained that he used those words only as a metaphor.
2-A Kurdish MP complained from the speech of Mashhadani which did not include the terms "democratic and federal united Iraq".

(6:00 pm)

-Talabani and his two deputies have won the vote by 198 votes out of a total of 255 actual votes with 57 papers left empty.
Talabani, Abdul Mahdi and al-Hashimi sworn in as members of the new presidency council of Iraq for a full 4 year term.
Talabani prepares to give a speech.

(6:10 pm)

-Talabani thanks the forces of the liberation in his speech and officially annouces Noori Kamil al-Ali (aka Jawad al-Maliki) as the nominee for new PM of Iraq.
Talabani also thanked Jafari for ending the deadlock and asks him to give a speech.

(6:20 pm)

-Session adjourned to an undisclosed date and thus voting on the PM is also not taking place today.

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