U.N. Iraq envoy warns of ‘chaos’ without progress to form government

The U.N. special envoy to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov called on all lawmakers to attend the session

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Iraqi politicians must move forward on forming a government or risk the country descending into “chaos,” the U.N. envoy said on Saturday, a day before lawmakers were scheduled to meet.

Nickolay Mladenov said Iraq’s bickering MPs would have only themselves to blame if they failed to make progress, after a previous attempt to appoint a speaker ended in abject failure.

“Failing to move forward on electing a new speaker, a new president and a new government risks plunging the country into chaos,” he said in a statement.

“It will only serve the interests of those who seek to divide the people of Iraq and destroy their chances for peace and prosperity.”

World powers and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani have appealed for lawmakers to put aside their seemingly intractable differences and form a united front against a jihadist-led onslaught that has overrun swathes of the country.

But on July 1 the first parliamentary meeting since April elections ended in acrimony after Kurdish and Sunni Arab lawmakers walked out amid heckling and threats.

Another session was scheduled for the following week, but was postponed for more than a month until after the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

That triggered outrage among Iraqis incredulous at the lack of urgency among their politicians, and the session was brought forward to Sunday.