02/13/2006, 00.00
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Naming cabinet not an easy task for Jaafari

Moderate Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and secular Iraqis disappointed and worried about the United Iraqi Alliance's decision to give outgoing Prime Minister the task of naming new cabinet.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The nomination of Ibrahim al-Jaafari as the future Prime Minister by the powerful Shiite bloc is an important step in forming that government, but it could be a significant stumbling block in negotiations between Shiites, Kurds, and Sunni Arabs.

Jaafari was nominated the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) candidate for the prime minister job after beating his closest rival Adel Abdul Mahdi by a one vote margin, 64 to 63. His victory was clenched by a ballot left unmarked.

For some observers, support by radical Shiite Moqtada al-Sadr helped Jaafari. The young firebrand cleric has always opposed the more pragmatic Mahdi, who was backed by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Jaafari, who heads the Dawa party, is now certain to head Iraq's next government. The December 15 elections gave the UIA's six allied parties a majority of seats—128 out 275—but not enough to govern alone.

Jaafari pledged yesterday to work with all Iraqi groups to form a government that will serve "the great interests of Iraq".

The road to Iraq's first post-Saddam government that is fully legitimate and sovereign is going to be rocky though.

Many Sunni Arabs blame him for the murder and torture of alleged insurgents by the country's Shiite-led security services; secular Iraqis and the US have been opposed to his advocacy for strengthened Islamic law; and many average Iraqis are frustrated that the public face of ongoing economic and security failures will keep his job. Also Iraq's President Jalal Talabani said yesterday that the coalition of Kurdish parties wouldn't support a government led by Jaafari unless it gives a cabinet post to Iraqi List's Iyad Allawi, a US-backed secularist.

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See also
Constitutional talks to begin homestretch
Sunnis call for UN intervention after massacre in Baghdad
Iranian Foreign Minister ends historic visit to Iraq
Bomb against police station
Battle in Najaf overshadows National Conference in Baghdad


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