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Iraqi parliament changes reopening date again

The acting head of Iraq's parliament says the session will reopen next week, just one day after an announcement that it would not reconvene until August.

Acting speaker Mehdi al-Hafidh released a statement on Tuesday that the session would resume next Sunday.

He said any delay could jeopardize Iraq's security and democracy.

The parliament was elected in April, but lawmakers have been unable to form a national unity government.

The session went into a one-week recess and was due to be reconvened on Tuesday.

But the date was put off until August after political groups failed to agree on who should be the speaker.
The formation of a national unity government that includes various religious and ethnic groups is seen as the key to stabilizing the situation.

Iraqi government forces are fighting militants who have declared the establishment of an Islamic state in a region straddling Iraq and Syria.

Critics of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki say he should resign because his preferential treatment of Shia Muslims has angered Sunnis and enabled militants to expand their influence. But Maliki refuses to step down.

Jul. 8, 2014 - Updated 17:29 UTC