Iraq's main Sunni parliamentary alliance splits after speaker quits

Other News Materials 24 December 2008 20:37 (UTC +04:00)

Iraq's main Sunni parliamentary alliance, the Iraqi Accord Front (IAF), split on Wednesday, a day after the resignation of the parliamentary speaker Mahmoud Mashaddani, dpa reported.

Iraqi National Dialogue Council (INDC), to which al-Mashhadani belongs, withdrew from the IAF because the alliance had "failed to fulfill its duty," INDC chief Khalaf al-Alyan said.

Al-Mashhadani announced his resignation after lawmakers engaged in a quarrel over an Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush at a press conference on December 14. Al-Mashhadani became locked in a dispute with lawmakers, some of whom accused him of insulting them in parliament.

He was pressured by the ruling Shiite and Kurdish parties to resign. The Iraq Accord Front did not support him.

The split in the IAF could further weaken parliament's Sunni bloc, which holds a minority of the seats in the parliament. Sunnis in Iraq often complain of discrimination by the Shite-led government, which came to power after a US invasion that removed former president Saddam Hussein.

After the 2005 elections, the IAF acquired 44 seats in the 275- seat legislature. The alliance is now comprised of the Iraqi Islamic Party under the leadership of Iraq's vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi and the National Dialogue Front.