Iraqi Lawmaker Gunned Down


The 36-member Cabinet list, which includes seven women, will be presented in the National Assembly on Thursday, incoming Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said.

Al-Jaafari did not release any names on the list but said it included representatives of all the country's major groups, including Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

President Jalal Talabani and his two vice presidents must sign off on the proposal before the assembly votes on the new government. Talabani already has indicated he would not exercise his veto, and parliament Speaker Hajim al-Hassani told the 275-member assembly earlier in the day that they would be asked to vote on the new Cabinet on Thursday.

Bickering over ministerial candidates that had threatened to further delay the announcement of the new Iraqi government continued until the last minute.

Al-Jaafari said he has proposed a 36-member Cabinet — including three deputy premiers who lawmakers said would come from each of Iraq's main Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions. A fourth deputy could also be added, al-Jaafari said, offering no explanation.

The Cabinet also would have 17 Shiite Arab ministers, eight Kurds, six Sunni Arabs and one Christian, fulfilling promises by leaders of the Shiite majority to share power among ethnic and religious groups, lawmakers from al-Jaafari's Iraqi United Alliance said.

A formal handover between outgoing Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and his successor will take place in the coming days, al-Jaafari said.

Shiite lawmakers said Allawi's Iraqi List party, which has 40 seats in the National Assembly, was not included in the new Cabinet. They said they had given up trying to balance Allawi's demands with those of Sunni factions that could offer help in beginning talks with Sunni militants, who are believed to be the backbone of the insurgency.

Many Shiites have long resented the secular Allawi, accusing his outgoing administration of including former Baathists in the government and security forces.

Among the other last-minute points of contention was the winning Shiite alliance's opposition to some Sunni Arab candidates who they believe were former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, which brutally repressed the majority Shiites and Kurds.

Infighting within al-Jaafari's Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance — the largest bloc in parliament — over who would be oil minister also stalled progress, said Sami al-Askari, a Shiite lawmaker.

Shiites make up 60 percent of Iraq's 26 million people. The Kurds make up 20 percent, and the Sunni Arabs, who largely stayed away from the elections either in boycott of the vote or for fear of attacks, are roughly 15 percent to 20 percent.