" As Iraq witnesses some of its worst violence in years, lawmakers are struggling to form a new government that is representative of Iraq's diverse political factions and ethnic groups. "
Baghdad, July 23 - The new Iraqi parliament Wednesday postponed selecting the nation's president till Thursday after the Kurdish political bloc asked for more time to mull over its candidate.

We have decided to adjourn the session of the Council of Representatives to 11 a.m. Thursday, Speaker Salim al-Jubouri said after he received a request from the Kurdish lawmakers.

According to the speaker, Kurdish leaders demanded more time so they could decide on their most favoured candidate and the request was accepted by the lawmakers, Xinhua reported.

A total of 236 legislators in the 328-seat parliament were present at Wednesday's session. The session also discussed some other pressing issues in Iraq, such as the annual budget and humanitarian aid to Iraqis displaced by the ongoing Sunni insurgency all over the country.

The lawmakers agreed to form a committee to discuss the delayed 2014 budget, which the former parliament failed to approve following an intense political deadlock.

The lawmakers also agreed to form another committee to study the deteriorating conditions being faced by internally-displaced people in the country.

More than a month ago armed Sunni insurgents spearheaded by the Islamic State, an Al Qaida breakaway group, launched a surprise offensive that stunned the world, capturing large parts of the country's northern and western territories after Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts, leaving their military equipment and thousands of civilians who were forced to flee their homes.

Jubouri also said that the number of candidates who are running for president stood at 93.

The current delay reflects the lawmakers' desire to fulfill Iraq's power-sharing consensus, which stipulates that the president should be a member of the Kurdish minority, while the speakership is reserved for a Sunni Arab and the prime ministership for a Shia.

The agreement has been supported by the leading Shia, Sunni and Kurdish political parties, though it has not been incorporated into the country's constitution.

Most legislators belonging to the leading political blocs are likely to respect the power-sharing agreement by choosing a Kurdish candidate as the new Iraqi president.

The demand comes after Kurdish lawmakers failed to agree on a single candidate. Media reports indicate that Fuad Masoum, head of the Kurdish Alliance in Iraq's parliament, and Barham Salih, deputy secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, were among the candidates nominated.

On July 15, lawmakers elected Salim al-Jubouri as the new speaker for the parliament. The country's constitution requires a new president to be chosen 30 days after the speaker is elected.

Around two weeks after the new head of state is elected, the bloc with the most lawmakers will nominate a prime minister who will be responsible for forming a new government.

As Iraq witnesses some of its worst violence in years, lawmakers are struggling to form a new government that is representative of Iraq's diverse political factions and ethnic groups.

The recent advances made by the largely Sunni Islamist insurgency threatens to tear the country apart, prompting world powers to press for an inclusive government in the conflict-ridden country.


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