Al-Jafaari named new premier
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.