The Iraqi Governing Council on Friday named one of its members - Iyad Allawi, a Shiite Muslim who was a leading figure in the exiled opposition against Saddam Hussein - to become prime minister in the new government taking power June 30, members said.
The nomination was one of many recommendations being made to U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who has led the process for drawing up the new government and is expected to announce the final lineup by Monday.
The council is "one of many groups that have made some recommendations to Mr. Brahimi," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
Brahimi's spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, said that the envoy "welcomes and respects the choice of Mr. Allawi."
"Mr. Brahimi respects this choice and very very soon, we will be discussing with the prime minister-designate the formation of the whole Cabinet," Fawzi said, according to The AP.
"It is a done deal. Hameed al-Kafaei, the spokesman for the Governing Council, said. "He is a prime minister-designate."
The council also planned to nominate a president and two vice presidents on Friday.
The 25-seat body unanimously selected Allawi because he was seen as best positioned to deal with the country's deteriorating security situation, members said.
Allawi's "nomination has a great deal to do with security since it's ... our main problem," council member Mahmoud Othman told The Associated Press. Allawi "has been in charge of security matters in the council since its inception. He is the best available choice."
Council members also thought Allawi could best deal with security because his party, the Iraqi National Accord, is made up of former military officers who had defected from Saddam's regime, said Allawi's aide, Ibrahim al-Janabi.
During his years in exile, Allawi had support from CIA and State Department officials. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)