Explosion targets Iraqi parliament speaker’s party amid political crisis

An improvised explosive device exploded at the headquarters of the Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi’s Progress Party in Baghdad early Friday, wounding two guards, Iraqi police said.

The blast damaged the building’s doors and windows, police said.

Police said a similar blast a few hours later targeted the headquarters of the al-Azm Coalition in Baghdad, to which another Sunni politician, Khamis al-Khanjar, belonged, caused only minor damage.

No one has claimed responsibility for the second blast.

The Iraqi parliament, which was formed recently following general elections on October 10th, elected al-Halbousi as its speaker for a second term on Sunday.

Shiite parties allied with Iran oppose the choice of Al-Halbousi, while a judicial decision issued Thursday by the Federal Court, the highest judicial authority in Iraq, restored the Iraqi parliament to a state of stagnation by suspending the work of the Council of Representatives Presidency Council, based on a complaint submitted by Senior Member of Parliament Mahmoud al-Mashhadani from the al-Azm Alliance, and Deputy Bassam Khashan (independent), questioning the constitutionality of the last session in which Al-Halbousi was elected to a new term.

This decision will inevitably result in no parliamentary session and no vote on the election of a president until the appeals filed by al-Mashhadani and Khashan are settled. The resolution also did not set a date for the resolution and thus the stalemate continues.

The first session of the parliament witnessed verbal clashes that turned violent, driven by the Coordinating Framework for Shiite Forces, which insisted on being the biggest bloc after alliances that said it increased the number of its seats to 88. The Sadrist Movement bloc, which won the largest number of seats (73 seats) in the October 2021 elections, maintains that it is the biggest bloc, and this was reinforced by alliances that also raised the number of its seats to more than 80 seats.

The speaker of the session at the time, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, was forced to suspend deliberations for a while before he was attacked and had to be transferred to the hospital. The parliament resumed its deliberations under the chairmanship of Senior Member of Parliament Abd Al-Mashhadani and the election of the Speaker and his two deputies.

During its first session last Sunday, the Iraqi parliament elected Mohamed al-Halbousi to serve a second term after winning the confidence of 200 deputies, while his rival Mahmoud al-Mashhadani received only 14 votes.

In a statement on Monday, the Shia parties said the meeting was illegal in the absence of al-Mashhadani.

Sunnis, Kurds, and Shias tend to head the parliament and head the government in accordance with constitutional norms in the country since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The Sadrist bloc led in the October 10th elections with 73 seats, followed by the Alliance of 37, the State of Law coalition led by Nouri al-Maliki with 33, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party with 31.

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