10 Iraqi Sunni MPs leave main bloc over quarrel
The splintering comes a day after the resignation of parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani.
A quarter of Iraq's largest Sunni Arab parliamentary bloc left on Wednesday, weakening the main political voice of the nation's once-dominant minority.
Ten parliamentarians abandoned the Accordance Front bloc over quarrels with fellow members from the Iraqi Islamic Party, said Khalaf al-Ilayan, who heads the Iraqi National Dialogue Council, one of the parties that makes up the bloc.
"Due to the Accordance Front's failure to achieve its mission and the Islamic Party's unilateral actions, we declare ... the Accordance Front has been dissolved," he told a news conference.
But other members of the Front, which would still have about 30 seats in Iraq's 275-member parliament, insisted the Accordance Front was solid.
The split in the Front, formed amid growing sectarianism before 2005 elections, raises doubts about the political unity of Iraq's Sunni Arabs, many of whom are aggrieved more than five years after losing political primacy.
The splintering comes a day after the resignation of parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a National Dialogue member whose departure inflamed tensions within the Front.
Hazim al-Nuaimi, a political science professor in Baghdad, said the split reflected growing drift among political allegiances that were formed along sectarian lines.
"It's not just the Accordance Front. It has even happened to the United Iraqi Alliance," he said, referring to the ruling bloc that includes Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa party.
Reuters Last Mod: 25 Aralık 2008, 00:51