Iraq’s new parliament has re-elected its speaker for a second term, the first step towards forming a new government after a general election whose results have been contested by powerful Iran-backed factions.
In a reflection of the tensions, the new parliament’s first session on Sunday was marked by disarray, with the eldest member, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, being evacuated to the hospital after falling ill.
The chaotic meeting ushers in what is likely to be a lengthy period of political wrangling among rival groups to choose a new president and a prime minister. As the leader of the biggest bloc, Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr has the upper hand in forming a new government. But he will have to manage tensions with rival Shia groups that continue to reject the election results and are demanding to have a say in the government formation process.
According to Iraq’s constitution, the largest bloc in parliament has the right to choose the new prime…