BAGHDAD, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The new Iraqi parliament on Sunday re-elected Mohammed al-Halbousi as Speaker after its first session resumed.
The resumed session was chaired by Khalid al-Darraji, second alternative to the eldest member of the parliament Mahmoud al-Mashhadani who was transferred to a hospital for a sudden health problem, while the first alternative declined to chair the session.
The session was attended by 228 lawmakers in the 329-seat parliament, who voted for al-Halbousi or al-Mashhadani for the post of the parliament speaker.
Al-Halbousi won by an overwhelming majority of 200 votes while al-Mashhadani, a former speaker, secured only 14, with the remaining ballots confirmed invalid.
According to the Iraqi Constitution, the Council of Representatives, or the parliament, must elect its speaker, and his first deputy and second deputy by an absolute majority of the total number of the lawmakers.
According to Iraq's power-sharing system, the first deputy must be from the Shiite community and the second from the Kurds.
The new parliament's first session began on Sunday afternoon under the chairmanship of al-Mashhadani, with the attendance of 325 newly elected lawmakers, but was interrupted as some blocs had been fighting for the status of the largest parliamentary alliance that would form the government in the coming four years, ending with the hospitalization of al-Mashhadani.
The parliament should also elect a new Iraqi president from the candidates by a two-thirds majority of its members within 30 days of the first session. According to the power-sharing system, the president should be reserved for the Kurds, the speaker for the Sunnis and the prime minister for the Shiites.
The new president will ask the largest parliamentary alliance to name a prime minister-designate to form a government within 30 days.
The Iraqi parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2022, were held on Oct. 10, 2021 in response to months of protests against corruption, poor governance, and a lack of public services. ■