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After Heated Debate, Iraq's Lawmakers Fail to Elect Speaker


Iraq's national assembly met Tuesday for only the second time since its election in January, but the session ended in chaos when lawmakers failed to agree on a parliament speaker.

The meeting began nearly three hours late, with the chairman's announcement that Sunni Muslim deputies had failed to nominate a speaker from among their ranks. He then declared the session over and said a vote would not take place before Sunday.

Several of the assembly's 275-members immediately called for an explanation, with one legislator asking, "what shall we tell the voters?" Outgoing interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi stormed out in frustration, and the media were expelled.

Meanwhile, in the northern city of Kirkuk, a car bomb explosion killed one person and injured at least a dozen others. Separately, three Romanian journalists were reported kidnapped.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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