BAGHDAD (AP) – Lawmakers from Iraq’s largest Sunni Arab bloc on Monday ended their boycott of parliament over the “house arrest” of their leader, Adnan al-Dulaimi, who also showed up at the session.
The two-day protest was provoked by what the lawmakers said was the house arrest of al-Dulaimi after one of his security guards was allegedly discovered last week with the keys to a car laden with explosives near his office in a western Baghdad neighborhood.
Al-Dulaimi’s son and 30 other people were arrested Friday after the incident.
The government has consistently denied that al-Dulaimi, one of Iraq’s most powerful Sunni Arab politicians, was placed under house arrest, insisting he was prevented from leaving him home for his own safety.
Defusing the crisis, the government moved him Sunday to a hotel a short distance away from parliament’s building in the heavily guarded Green Zone, also home to the offices of Iraq’s government and the U.S. Embassy.
On Monday, al-Dulaimi took his seat in parliament but left 10 minutes later. He said he had a meeting scheduled with President Jalal Talabani, a Sunni Kurd.
The end of the boycott by lawmakers from the Iraqi Accordance Front, which has 44 of parliament’s 275 seats, is unlikely to ease the enduring tensions between the Front and the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The Front pulled out its six minister from al-Maliki’s government in August in protest against the prime minister’s policies. Al-Maliki and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab a member of the front, have publicly squabbled for months.
Al-Hashemi accuses al-Maliki of following sectarian policies and monopolizing decision making with a small clique of aides from his Dawa Party. Al-Maliki has said the vice president was undermining the political process by not ratifying legislation adopted by parliament.