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Lawmakers Elect Speaker of Iraqi Parliament

iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Iraq’s parliament overcame weeks of deadlocks Tuesday by picking a new speaker.

Although there’s still plenty of work ahead to form a new government, the selection of Sunni moderate Salim al-Jubouri signals that lawmakers are making some attempts to get around serious differences amid the threat of Islamic extremists seeking to take control of Baghdad and southern Iraq.

As dictated by the Iraqi constitution, the speaker was destined to be a Sunni. Next comes the selection of a Kurdish president and, ultimately, lawmakers will pick a new prime minister from a Shiite bloc.

Whether that will be incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has yet to be seen, given his unpopularity with Sunnis and Kurds, along with Maliki’s refusal to form a unity government to band together against the Islamic State.

Although returning Maliki to power would demonstrate some continuity, parliament also runs the risk of completely disenfranchising Sunnis and Kurds if he wins another term as prime minister.

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