Yesterday morning Iraq’s new parliament was sworn in and sat for the first time. They didn’t sit long, going into recess almost immediately after the oath of office was administered, but it was seen as hugely important, the first step toward a new government over three months after the election.
The first order of business for a new parliament is, under Iraq’s constitution, the election of a new president. But beyond some idle speculation there is no real clue who this new president will be, and there is still no vote in sight.
This is probably hardly surprising. It took the last Iraqi parliament a solid month to select its eventual president, and the new parliament is considerable more split than that one was.
Last time the job went to Jalal Talabani of the Kurdish faction, and while the Kurdistan Alliance was the big loser in this election there has been speculation that someone in the bloc, though not necessarily Talabani, may eventually get the post.
The president’s job isn’t of enormous consequence, but he does hold the job of charging the party with the largest plurality with trying to form a government. By law this should be Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc but the second place finisher, Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law, has called this a “waste of time.” Though a very minor issue in theory, it could keep a new president from being appointed in the near term.