Parliament approves Nujaifi as speaker

BAGHDAD — Iraq lawmakers have approved a Sunni-backed coalition’s choice for parliament speaker, setting in motion the process for forming a new government under a deal that returns Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to power.

By (AP)

Published: Thu 11 Nov 2010, 11:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:10 AM

Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni member of the Iraqiya coalition that tried to prevent a second al-Maliki term, was approved with 227 votes out of 295 votes cast.

The agreement worked out late Wednesday gives Iraqiya the parliament speaker’s post and the Kurds the presidency and keeps al-Maliki in office.

Al-Nujaifi is seen as a Sunni hard-liner who has strong backing among his community in the north but is hated by many Kurds. His power and personality may be able to bring more authority to what has before been a lackluster postion.

Five facts about Osama al-Nujaifi

Iraq’s main factions have agreed on the top three political posts, breaking an eight-month impasse over the formation of a new government.

Lawmaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a senior member of the Iraqiya bloc, which was the top vote winner in an otherwise inconclusive March election, was elected parliament speaker. Here are five facts about Nujaifi:

· Nujaifi was born in the northern city of Mosul in 1956. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and worked at the Industry and Minerals Ministry before resigning in 1992.

· Hailing from a wealthy family of landowners and politicians, Nujaifi was appointed minister of industry and minerals in 2005 in the Iraqi Transitional government that lasted until 2006.

· Nujaifi emerged as an influential politician when he was first elected in 2005 as a member of parliament. His brother became the governor of the northern province of Nineveh, where Kurds and Arabs tussle over disputed lands, after provincial elections in 2009.

· A prominent Sunni Arab, Nujaifi was known for a fiery nationalism that led to rocky relations with Iraq’s minority Kurds, who enjoy virtual self-government in their northern enclave. His relationship with the Kurds has improved in recent weeks and he visited the Kurdish capital of Arbil during government formation talks.

He now heads Iraqiyoon, a bloc within the cross-sectarian Iraqiya coalition, which has around 20 seats in parliament. All those lawmakers were elected in Nineveh.

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