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Shias pick kingpin
As Al-Jaafari looks set to continue as prime minister, security and the occupation remain everyday horrors, writes Nermeen Al-Mufti
The United Iraqi Alliance has nominated Ibrahim Al-Jaafari as prime minister. He is Iraq's current interim prime minister and has been criticised over the deterioration of security and public services in the country. The Kurds have reservations about Al-Jaafari because of his position on Kirkuk, which he refuses to incorporate into northern Iraq until a public census is conducted. President Jalal Talabani once said that Al-Jaafari tends to monopolise decision-making.
Al-Jaafari's nomination came after Hassan Al-Shehrestani and Nadim Al-Jabri withdrew their candidacies for the post. Turkoman parliamentarian Fawzi Akram told Al-Ahram Weekly that, "because of the rivalry between Adel Abdul-Mahdi and Al-Jaafari, the United Iraqi Alliance decided to put the matter to a vote. In the vote, which took place at the headquarters of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Al-Jaafari got 64 votes and Abdul- Mahdi 63 votes... Al-Jaafari has the support of the Al-Sadr group, a block that has 30 parliamentary seats."
Speaking at a news conference after his nomination, Al-Jaafari said that security would be the first priority for his government, followed by economy, services, and reconstruction. "The coming government should be one of national unity; one that encompasses all the components of the Iraqi people," the prime minister said. He promised that the government would rely heavily on experts and technocrats.