BAGHDAD, June 23 (Xinhua) -- A total of 64 new lawmakers were sworn in on Thursday in the Iraqi parliament to fill most of the gap left by resignation of 73 members of the Sadrist Movement, the biggest winner in the Oct. 10 elections, according to a parliament statement.
The remaining nine vacant seats will be filled later, after the extraordinary session headed by Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and attended by 202 lawmakers, local media reported.
According to the Iraqi law, the vacant seats left by the 73 Sadrist lawmakers should be filled by those who obtain the second highest votes in their electoral district.
On June 12, al-Halbousi approved the resignation of all lawmakers of the Sadrist Movement.
The resignation came just after the Sadrist Movement's leader Moqtada al-Sadr, a prominent Shiite cleric in Iraq, asked his bloc's members to resign from parliament to save the political process from an unknown fate, according to a written statement affixed with his seal and signature.
During the past months, the continuing disputes among the Shiite parties have hampered the formation of a new Iraqi government, as the parliament has been unable to elect a new president by a two-thirds majority of the 329-seat parliament under the constitution.
If elected, the president, whose tenure is limited to two four-year terms, will then appoint the head of the government, or the prime minister.
Al-Sadr had vowed to form a new national majority government from the winning parties in the elections after his followers took the lead with 73 seats in the elections.
Al-Sadr's pro-Iran rivals and some other parties, however, want to form a consensus government to include all political blocs, as in the case of all successive governments since 2003.