Damien Cave, NYT: BAGHDAD, IRAQ — Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, the speaker of Parliament, read a roll call of the 275 elected members with a goal of shaming the no-shows.
Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister? Absent, living in Amman and London. Adnan Pachachi, the octogenarian statesman? Also gone, in Abu Dhabi. Others who failed to appear Monday included Saleh Mutlak, a senior Sunni legislator; several Shiites and Kurds; and Ayad al-Samaraei, chairman of the finance committee, whose absence led al-Mashhadani to ask: “When will he be back? After we approve the budget?” It was a joke barbed with outrage.
Iraq’s Parliament in recent months has been at a standstill. Nearly every session since November has been adjourned because as few as 65 members made it to work, even as they and the absentees earned salaries and benefits worth about $120,000.