Sunday, February 11, 2007

Iraq's Sunni parliament speaker al-Mashhadani resists calls for his ouster

BAGHDAD, Iraq: The Sunni parliament speaker Sunday brushed aside demands for his resignation, saying if anyone deserves to go it should be the prime minister's Shiite-led administration.

Mahmoud al-Mashhadani did not mention Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by name when responding to reporters' questions about calls for the speaker to be replaced.

But he said: "If someone needs to be replaced, it's the government and not the parliament speaker."

Instead, al-Mashhadani said any change "should start with the leadership that is responsible for our current disaster and which has authority to bring a solution," apparently referring to al-Maliki.

Al-Mashhadani won the speaker's job as part of a power-sharing deal between the Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni blocs in parliament after the December 2005 general election. The agreement gave the presidency to the Kurds, the prime ministership to the Shiites and the parliament post to the Sunnis.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune

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