Sunday, April 03, 2005

Iraqi Lawmakers Elect Parliament Speaker

WaPo reported An American-educated Sunni Muslim won the first-to-be-filled post of parliament speaker in Iraq's new government on Sunday, breaking a serious impasse and launching a Shiite, Kurd and Sunni unity government more than two months after historic national elections.

Filling of the first post represented compromises by all sides. Shiites and Sunnis withdrew their own, rival candidates for speaker, and Hasani gave up his hopes of a top Cabinet job to end an impasse over the speakership.

"The Iraqi people have been able to survive many attempts by their enemies to divide the people,'' Hasani told the assembly, invoking a "'free, democratic, federated and pluralistic'' future for Iraq.

Lawmakers said they now hoped to pick government leaders and a Cabinet within days, running to catch up by a mid-August deadline for completing a new constitution to put to a nationwide vote.

While the presidency and premiership appear settled among a Kurd and a Shiite, a vice presidency and ministries controlling the billion-dollar oil industry and the security forces are among the jobs still being contested.

Cori Dauber blogged The fact that there's forward movement at last is probably at least as important, at this point, as the fact that the position went to a Sunni -- but I can't imagine that hurts.

Jim in Chicago commented Picturing typical lefty, hands over ears yalling "I;m not listening, I'm not listening." I preferred the post-election lefty, curled up in a fetal position sucking its thumb in abject surrender

CQ blogged As Dick Cheney said a week ago, the Iraqis have been frustrated by the slow progress, but the simple fact is that Iraqis have little experience in multiparty electoral and parliamentary politics. They have not developed the skills necessary to effect the kinds of compromises and coalition-building required to effectively form parliamentary governments. The only way to learn is to actually do it, and it appears that the Iraqi politicians may have worked their way through the first try.

The other positions will fall into place rather quickly, with the posts expected to gain approval in the next session of the National Assembly. A Kurd will be named president, Jalal Talabani, and a Shi'ite will take on the more powerful position of Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari. The Shi'ites and Kurds took care to ensure participation of all three major sects in the new government, even though the Sunni wound up with less than ten percent of the seats in the Assembly due to their boycott. By the end of this week, they should be in a position to determine who will fill the ministry posts, which will then complete the transition to a popularly-elected government for the Iraqi people.

It seems that it took a long time to form a government, but remember we elect a President in early November, and his inauguration is in late January

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