Iraq's vice-president has called on parliament to convene next Tuesday, the first step towards forming a new government to present a united front against a rapidly advancing Sunni insurgency.
Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's political bloc won the most seats in the April 30 election, but he needs support from other blocs to govern with a majority.
Critics blame his failure to promote national reconciliation for the Sunni anger fuelling the insurgent gains and want him to step down.
Khudeir al-Khuzaie issued a decree today ordering the 328-member parliament to meet. Constitutionally the next step would be to elect a speaker and two deputies, then within 30 days to choose a new president who will ask the largest bloc to choose a prime minister and form the new government.