"One of the first tasks facing the Council of Representatives is confronting the calls for dividing Iraq, Maliki added."
Baghdad, July 16 - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Wednesday welcomed the election of a speaker and two deputies for the violence-hit country's new parliament.

I congratulate the Iraqi people, the Council of Representatives and the Speaker of the council, the brother doctor Salim al-Jubouri, the first deputy, the brother doctor Haidar al-Ebadi and the second deputy, brother Aram Sheikh Mohammed, Maliki said in his televised weekly speech.

Maliki called on the new parliament to unite and work in harmony and to hastily pass the pending important laws like the oil and gas law, Xinhua reported.

He also urged the new parliament to better coordinate with the executive authority.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi lawmakers managed to fill in the vacant speakership, taking a key step toward the formation of a new government.

By electing a Sunni speaker and Shia and Kurdish deputies, the lawmakers overcame their first obstacle in the way of forming a new government that could include all Iraqi factions.

One of the first tasks facing the Council of Representatives is confronting the calls for dividing Iraq, Maliki added.

As for the post of the country's president, Maliki said a Kurd was welcome to be a candidate for the post, adding that the candidate for the post must believe in the unity of Iraq and reject the calls for division, referendums, violations to the constitution and illegitimate expansions.


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