Iraq parliament fails to reach quorum for emergency session

Photo: Iraq parliament fails to reach quorum for emergency session
 / Iraq

Iraq's parliament failed to reach a quorum Thursday, officials said, preventing it from voting on a request to announce a state of emergency to deal with a major jihadist offensive.

A senior government official told AFP only 128 of 325 MPs attended, and another official confirmed a quorum was not reached.

The "emergency session", which had been announced two days before, was then cancelled.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the president's office submitted a request for parliament to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday, as jihadists overrun swathes of territory.

The failure of the session showcased how dysfunctional the Iraqi parliament, which has passed little significant legislation in years and is often poorly attended, has become.

The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group has spearheaded a major offensive that began on Monday night and has since overrun all of one province, major parts of two more and three villages in a fourth.

Iraq's security forces have so far failed to halt the offensive, with many soldiers abandoning their posts and uniforms and fleeing.

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