BAGHDAD, March 6 (UPI) -- Iraqi officials have selected the date for the first session of its newly-elected national assembly.
"We are agreed that the first session of parliament will take place March 16, the anniversary of the chemical bombing of the Kurdish town of Halabja by the former regime of Saddam Hussein on March 16, 1988," said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih.
The 1980s attack killed some 5,000 Kurds in a single day and is considered one of the worst atrocities committed by Saddam, reported the BBC.
"If we don't reach an agreement then, the National Assembly will begin its work and discussions will continue inside the assembly," Saloh added.
The narrowness of the Shia-backed United Iraqi Alliance party, which won 140 seats in the 275-member interim Parliament, has required it to co-operate with other parties to elect the president and two vice-presidents, who in turn appoint a prime minister.