August 27, 2018 / 12:44 PM / a month ago

Iraqi president convenes new parliament for Sept. 3

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s new parliament will convene on Sept. 3, according to a decree issued on Monday by President Fuad Masum, preparing the way for lawmakers to elect a new government to start rebuilding the country after a three-year war with Islamic State.

Iraqis voted in May in their first parliamentary election since the defeat of Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate, but a contentious recount process delayed the announcement of final results until earlier this month.

Uncertainty over the make-up of the new government has raised tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, high unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding after the war with Islamic State.

“The president has held several substantive talks with all political groups, urging them to finalise their political agreements in order to meet constitutional provisions,” Masum’s office said in a statement.

The Federal Supreme Court ratified the election results on Aug. 19 and Masum had 15 days to call the new parliament into session, the first step in a 90-day process outlined in the constitution that will eventually lead to a new government.

Lawmakers will elect a parliamentary speaker and two deputies in their first session. They will later elect a new president and task the leader of the largest bloc to form a government as prime minister.

The recount delayed the process by three months yet showed little had changed from the initial results, with populist Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr retaining his lead.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Gareth Jones

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