Governing council head calls for role for big hitters in post June 30 Iraq

Wext: Thursday, 13.May. @ 00:00:00 CEST


13.05.2004 - BAGHDAD (AFP)

- The current president of Iraq's US-appointed interim Governing Council said that the country's chief political players should remain in government after the June 30 handover of sovereignty.

Abdel Zahra Osman Mohammad, also known as Ezzedine Salim, said the transitional government should include "experienced people with concrete social and political connections", after meeting UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi who is consulting on the make-up of a post June 30 administration.

The transitional government, slated to last for only seven months, will be made up of 30 people to be selected by the end of May and will be responsible for security, running the country and preparing for elections in January.

Members of the governing council have been concerned about reports that Brahimi intends to invite technocrats to form the interim government, leaving council members to contest the January elections.

The council has 25 members chosen by the US but they have little power under the occupation.

"The aim of talks between the council and Lakhdar Brahimi and different political groups is to set up a national coalition government to unite the different players, parties and national political figures," Mohammad said.

"This (type of) government will satisfy the huge majority of Iraqis and security will be its primary objective," added the councils rotating May president.

The transitional cabinet, to be formed at the end of May, will include "experienced people with concrete social and political connections," he said, stressing that the UN envoy had not forced the council to accept any model of interim rule.

"It is for us to decide what is good for us. Mr Brahimi is here to help and give technical advice, and not to impose his own ideas," he said.

He added: "We need legitimacy, which we cannot have because it is impossible to hold elections. The UN can, by adopting a new resolution on Iraq, give us the legitimacy to steer the country until general elections."

A senior coalition official said Wednesday: "We think the interim government should be characterized by people who are qualified for the job and there's no reason that some of those people should not be people from political parties. "What exactly the mix will be remains to be seen."

Source: AFP

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