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Iraqi Parliament Approves Cabinet


Iraq has formed its first democratically elected post-war government, ending a three-month political impasse that has crippled efforts to end violence.

The 275-seat National Assembly voted overwhelmingly today-Thursday to approve the 31-member cabinet of Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Five posts, including the all-important defense and oil portfolios, have been filled on a temporary basis, after negotiators failed to produce consensus nominees.

Mr. al-Jaafari will also serve as acting defense minister, and Ahmad Chalabi, a former Pentagon favorite, will be a deputy prime minister and acting oil minister. The new government is expected to be sworn in within days.

Meanwhile, a top Interior Ministry advisor has been gunned down outside his home in Baghdad. A second ministry official was killed as he drove to work in the capital.

In Tikrit, a suicide car bombing near a security checkpoint killed at least two Iraqi soldiers and wounded about 15 others, including three U.S. soldiers.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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