04/08/2005, 00.00
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Al-Jafaari named new premier

Iraq's new President Jalal Talabani appointed Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a 58-year-old Shiite Arab physician, to the post of prime minister. He has two weeks to form a cabinet.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Ibrahim al-Jaafari, leader of the Shiite Dawa Party, was appointed yesterday Iraq's new prime minister with a mandate to for a new cabinet over the next two weeks.

"I have been given the task of forming the new government," al-Jaabari said. "This day for me means a new democratic political era in Iraq. [. . .] It is one of the most important moments in the new democratic process in our country," he added.

Outgoing interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi formally handed in his resignation; he had headed the government since June 2004.

Al-Jaafari was appointed by newly-elected President Jalal Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, after consultation with his two vice presidents, Ghazi Yawer, a Sunni Arab, and Abdel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite Arab. All were sworn in on April 7 before the National Assembly.

The Assembly itself had elected by a wide margin (215 votes out of 270) its own Speaker, Hajim Al-Hassani, a Sunni Arab, on April 3. He ran against four other candidates.

Al-Hassani's was a compromise choice after al-Yawar pulled out from the race; Shiites lawmakers also objected to Meshaan al-Jobouri, a Sunni thought to be too close to the former Baathist regime.

In the meantime, attacks by the insurgency continue throughout the country. According to local police, a convoy of trucks under US military escort came under fire just before midnight yesterday 110 kilometres north of Baghdad in an area near Tikrit; two drivers were killed.

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See also
Final results released
Iraqi elections: an overview
A Sunni is the Speaker of the new Iraqi parliament
Christians throng churches, no longer leave Iraq , says Bishop of Baghdad
Sunnis are already involved in the political life of Iraq, says Kurdish leader


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