New Parliament Adjourns, Can't Agree on Speaker Iraq's new parliament was sworn in Thursday, but was adjourned indefinitely after just 30 minutes because the legislature still lacks a speaker. Madeleine Brand talks to Adnan Pachachi, who is serving as a temporary speaker and oversaw the swearing-in session.

New Parliament Adjourns, Can't Agree on Speaker

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I spoke earlier with Mr. Pachachi about the incident.

ADNAN PACHACHI: Well, actually I was trying to give Parliament a very clear picture of what's going on in the country. And also what is expected of Parliament during this coming session. I think some members, or one member, actually, thought that I shouldn't have run into such detail, which of course is nonsense, because it's the duty of the presiding officer to inform Parliament what the situation is, and what is expected of Parliament in the future. And anyway I'm a member of Parliament. I have the right to say whatever I want.

BRAND: But it can't be a good sign that the first session of Parliament was closed after 30 minutes because nobody could get along, or get anything done?

PACHACHI: So I said I'll convene it again when there is agreement on the nominations for the Speaker of the House.

BRAND: There's no agreement on who should be speaker. Why is it so difficult to find somebody?

PACHACHI: Yeah, well, not because, I think the idea is that the speaker would be part of a package deal which would also include nominations for President, for Vice-President, for the Prime Minister, for the deputy premiers and so on. Although there is absolutely no reason why we can't elect a Speaker of the House right away. But you see, many of these parliamentary blocks feel that it should be part of a package you know a large package which includes all the major posts in the government.

BRAND: Now the big question about Iraq right now is whether or not this country is devolving into a civil war. What do you think?

PACHACHI: Well, of course the danger is there. That's what I said in my speech. The danger is there. But I think we should do everything possible to avert such a disaster.

BRAND: So you have suspended Parliament for the time being. What is the next step?

PACHACHI: Well, now we are going to continue meeting for the formation of the national unity government. Hopefully, I mean it's just a hope, that we will be able to form this government by the end of this month, two week's time. Or else if we can't agree on the whole package, I believe, you know, we should try to at least agree on the nominations for the Speaker of Parliament and his two deputies. Because then when this is done, when they are elected, then the Parliament can start working. But now, until a Speaker is elected, Parliament really can't do anything. Because it said the first thing the Parliament should do is to elect the Speaker.

BRAND: Well, thank you very much. Adnan Pachachi speaking to us from Baghdad. He presided over the Parliament today in the absence of a Speaker.

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