On Sunday, marking an important step towards establishing a new government, Mohammed al-Halbousi was elected as a speaker by the new Iraqi parliament, three months after the national elections in October 2021.
However, the first session held since the elections was disrupted by competing political Shi’ite blocs each claiming to hold a parliamentary majority and was later cut short as acting speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashahadani, suddenly fell ill and was taken to hospital.
Following the resumption of the parliamentary session, al-Halbousi was elected for a second term as speaker. According to a statement from the 329-seat parliament, al-Halbousi won with 200 votes.
Later, the Iraqi parliament’s office said in a statement that Mashahadani was in hospital under surveillance for fatigue. The former parliamentary speaker was discharged after a couple of hours.
There were heated debates and shouting among lawmakers over which party had the most seats.