20 Apr 2009

New speaker chosen by parliament in Iraq

6:36 am on 20 April 2009

Members of Iraq's parliament have elected a new speaker, ending months of dispute about who should fill the post.

Ayad al-Samarai, who is from the main Sunni Arab alliance, won 153 of 232 votes cast, and promised to work for national unity.

Politicians had agreed to reserve the position for a Sunni, but Mr Samarai had failed to win a big enough majority in a previous vote.

Parliament has been without a speaker since last December.

The previous holder of the post, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, stepped down following criticism of his abrasive style.