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Iraq’s new parliament meets as rival blocs vie for majority

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s newly-elected parliament is meeting for the first time as rival factions compete over the right to name a new government.

The parliament on Monday opened its first session since national elections in May with an orchestral performance of the national anthem and a prayer.

Lawmakers must now select a parliament speaker before electing a president. The president then appoints a prime minister to form a government.

Two blocs claim to hold the majority of seats in parliament and therefore the right to name a prime minister. The bloc of incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has the support of the U.S., while the bloc of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and militia leader Hadi al-Amiri is backed by Iran.