Iraq Re-Elects Parliament Speaker in Chaotic First Session

Sessions put on hold as eldest MP taken to hospital

Iraq’s parliament met Sunday for its first time since October 10’s election, voting to reelect Mohammed Halbousi as speaker with an overwhelming majority of 200 votes out of 228 in attendance.

The first parliament meeting is chaired by the oldest MP, which led to some complications. Mahmoud Mashhadani is the oldest MP, but needed to be taken to the hospital just minutes after the start.

The session was resumed with the second-oldest MP, and they managed to get the speaker vote done. That done, they now have 30 days to elect a president, traditionally a Kurdish post.

That president will appoint the bloc with the largest plurality to try to form a majority government. This is expected to be Moqtada al-Sadr’s party. That is being contested by a rival Shi’ite bloc calling itself the Coordination Framework, which claims to command the loyalty of 88 seats to Sadr’s 73.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of