Iraqi president fails to convene new parliament

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 7, 2006 04:01

Iraq's president failed in a bid to order parliament into session by March 12, further delaying formation of a government and raising questions whether the political process can withstand the unrelenting violence or disintegrate into civil war. The deadlock came Monday as snipers assassinated Maj.-Gen. Mibder Hatim al-Dulaimi, the Sunni Arab in charge of Iraqi forces protecting the capital. A torrent of bombings and shootings killed 25 more Iraqis on Monday, ending a relative lull in violence. Officials also found four bodies. At the heart of the dispute is a controversy over the second-term candidacy of the Shi'ite prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whose most powerful supporter is the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. In a bid to force a showdown in the dispute, President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, announced he would order parliament to convene Sunday for the first time since the elections in December and the ratification of the results on February 12. Such a meeting would have started a 60-day countdown for the legislators to elect a president, approve al-Jaafari's nomination as prime minister and sign off on his Cabinet.


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