Iraq's parliament to discuss allowing former Baathists into cabinet
Iraqi lawmakers were set to convene Saturday to discuss an agreement between leaders of political blocs to lift a ban preventing former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party from participating in the government, dpa reported.
The session will review a deal between leading politicians that lifts a ban on three members of former prime minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya List, which has Sunni backing and includes former Baathists.
Iraq's parliament convened Thursday night for just the second time since the March 7 elections and appointed a speaker - Iraqiya List member Osama al-Nujaifi - and then the president, Kurdish politician Jalal Talabani.
Talabani in turn selected Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for a second term in office.
But the session was marred when al-Maliki's rival, Allawi, led members of his List out of the chamber hall after a disagreement over the ban.
Lawmaker Ahmed al-Oraibi, of al-Maliki's National Alliance, told the German Press Agency dpa that "there was a misunderstanding during Thursday's session, which was dedicated to naming the country's top three posts only," and was "not supposed to tackle any other topic."
"The agreement between the leaders is still in effect and will be discussed in parliament," he said, adding, "There is no need to fear and anger."
One of the three members who were banned earlier this year from running for parliament, because of charges that he was a Baathist, is Saleh al-Mutlaq, believed to be the Iraqiya List's pick for foreign minister.
The heads of parliamentary blocs were scheduled to meet ahead of Saturday's session to discuss the results of meetings held in both Baghdad and the northern Kurdish city of Arbil.
Sources close to Iraqiya List said that Allawi met al-Maliki late on Friday to seek a compromise ahead of the parliamentary session.