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Iraqi Parliament Returns to Session

Iraqi lawmakers attend the parliament session in Baghdad, Iraq (File)

Iraqi lawmakers are holding their fourth session of parliament since the March election, but key decisions are not expected to be addressed for several more days.

Lawmakers met Sunday to discuss internal parliamentary rules and procedures. Officials say the newly chosen president will wait a few more days until he officially asks Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to start forming his cabinet.

Iraqi lawmakers took a significant step earlier this month in ending an 8-month political stalemate. They re-elected Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as president, and he, in turn, nominated Shi'ite incumbent Nouri al-Maliki to retain his position as prime minister.

The approved power sharing deal calls for former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, the head of the Iraqiya party, to lead a newly created committee overseeing national security, the National Council for Strategic Policies.

Iraqiya won the most seats in March elections, but was not able to gain enough support from other parties to create a majority coalition.

Iraqiya's inability to find political partners allowed Mr. Maliki, who partnered with anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in an Iranian-backed coalition, to gain momentum and support.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.