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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's new parliament has brought forward the date of its next session to July 13, the acting speaker said on Tuesday, after a five-week delay announced on Monday was criticised by local lawmakers and the United States.
The first session of the parliament elected in April ended last week without agreement on the three key posts of prime minister, president and parliamentary speaker, with the country in crisis over the seizure of large parts of the north and west by Sunni Islamist insurgents."For the sake of the public interest and committing to the constitutional procedures and preserving the continuity of building democracy ... we decided to change the date (of the next session) to July 13," Mehdi al-Hafidh said in a statement.
"Any delay in this could jeopardise the security of Iraq and its democratic course and increase the suffering of the Iraqi people."
On Monday, citing the failure of the main Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish political groupings to reach agreement, Hafidh had said the next session would not be held until Aug. 12.
The U.S. State Department reacted by saying that the "dire situation" facing Iraq made forming an inclusive government all the more urgent.
(Reporting By Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Maggie Fick, Editing by Kevin Liffey)