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Under pressure, Iraq parliament speeds up timetable for new session

Members of the Shia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq carry coffins of fighters from their group who were killed during clashes with militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant during a funeral in Najaf on July 7, 2014.

ALAA AL-MARJANI/REUTERS

Iraq's parliament has officially rescheduled its next session for early next week after facing criticism over an announced five-week break to give leaders time to agree on a new government.

Acting parliament speaker Mahdi al-Hafidh said in a statement Tuesday that after considering the "national interests" the next session will be on July 13 instead of Aug. 12.

Al-Hafidh warned that any delay in forming a new government "will jeopardize Iraq's security and democracy."

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Lawmakers are under pressure to quickly form a new government that can confront the militants who have overrun much of the country's north and west.

The legislature held its first session since April elections last week, but failed to agree on a new speaker, president and prime minister.

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