Iraq's new parliament sworn in
Updated: 2006-03-16 21:28
Three months after elections, Iraq's new parliament was sworn in Thursday, with parties still deadlocked over the next government, vehicles banned from Baghdad's streets to prevent car bombings and the country under the shadow of a feared civil war.
Iraqi children play soccer on a deserted street, in front of a Shiite Mosque, in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, March 16, 2006. Vehicles were banned from Baghdad's streets to help prevent car bombings as Iraq's new parliament was sworn in Thursday, but the long-expected first session of parliament lasted just over 30 minutes and was adjourned indefinitely as parties are still deadlocked over the makeup of the government. The mosque is shrouded with a black ribbon to mark the anniversary of the death of Imam al-Hussein, the Grandson of the prophet Muhammad. [AP]
But the long-awaited first session was indefinitely adjourned after just over 30 minutes because the parliament still has no speaker — just one result of the political impasse.
Adnan Pachachi, the senior politician who administered the oath in the absence of a speaker, spoke of a country in crisis.
"We have to prove to the world that a civil war is not and will not take place among our people," Pachachi told lawmakers. "The danger is still looming and the enemies are ready for us because they do not like to see a united, strong, stable Iraq."
As Pachachi spoke, he was interrupted from the floor by senior Shiite leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who said the remarks were inappropriate because of their political nature.
Even the oath was a source of disagreement, with the head of the committee that drafted the country's new constitution, Humam Hammoudi, protesting that lawmakers, who pledged to "preserve the independence and the sovereignty of Iraq," had strayed from the text at one point. After brief consultations, judicial officials agreed the wording was acceptable and the session adjourned until further notice.
Afterward acting Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters that "if politicians work seriously, we can have a government within a month."