Interim Iraqi Vice President to be Shiite list candidate for prime minister

Published February 22nd, 2005 - 03:27 GMT

Interim Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim al-Jaafari was chosen as his Shiite ticket's candidate for prime minister Tuesday after Ahmad Chalabi dropped his bid, senior alliance officials said. Now, he has to be approved by a coalition that likely will include the Kurds, and then he must be approved by a majority of the newly elected National Assembly.

Pressure from within the ranks of the United Iraqi Alliance, which won Iraq's Jan. 30 election, forced the withdrawal of Chalabi, said Hussein al-Moussawi from the Shiite Political Council, an umbrella group for 38 Shiite parties.

"They wanted him to withdraw. They didn't want to push the vote to a secret ballot," al-Moussawi said, according to The AP. The office of Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, confirmed that Chalabi had withdrawn his bid to be prime minister.

"Chalabi announced his withdrawal and everyone agreed on al-Jaafari. Then Chalabi declared his support to al-Jaafari," said Haytham al Husaini, a top al-Hakim aide.


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