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Iraq's Parliament Holds First Session


Iraq's first freely elected parliament in nearly half a century held its opening session Wednesday, but lawmakers have yet to form a government.

The 275-member interim National Assembly convened amid tight security in Baghdad's Convention Center in the city's heavily fortified Green Zone, more than six weeks after Iraq's January 30th elections.

Meanwhile, Shi'ite and Kurdish politicians are continuing talks on forming a national unity government. The Shi'ite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance has secured a slim parliamentary majority. But it needs the support of the Kurds to have the two-thirds majority required to elect the presidential council, which will nominate the prime minister.

There were several large explosions in the Iraqi capital both before and after the assembly session. It was not immediately known what caused the blasts or whether there were casualties.

In Baquba, north of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded at a security checkpoint today, killing at least three Iraqi soldiers.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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