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Iraq's New Parliament to Hold First Session June 14

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has called for the first session of the new parliament to be held on June 14, more than three months after inconclusive elections that have yet to produce a government.

The president's spokesman announced the session on Tuesday, one week after Iraq's Supreme Court ratified the results of the parliamentary elections.

The ratification affirmed the narrow victory of a secular coalition led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and marked an important step toward forming a new government.

None of the political groups in the March 7 election were able to secure the 163 seats needed to form a majority. Mr. Allawi's coalition had the most seats with 91, just two more than the mainly Shi'ite group led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr. Maliki has insisted he should lead the government and has reached out to the third-largest seat winner, the Iraqi National Alliance, which includes anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Sadr's supporters dislike Mr. Maliki because his government forces crushed their militia in 2008.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on Iraq's political leaders to move quickly to form an inclusive and representative government.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad released a statement calling last week's court ruling an "important step in the right direction" as Iraq begins a "historic and peaceful transition of power."

With a recent upsurge in violence and no working government, concerns have grown recently about Iraq's stability as the United States prepares to withdraw all its forces from the country by the end of next year.

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