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Iraqi Governing Council Convenes in Baghdad - 2003-07-13


Officials say a transitory governing council for Iraq will hold its inaugural session Sunday, the first step toward national elections by next year.

Iraq's new governing council will consist of 25 prominent Iraqis. The members were appointed to the council, after provisional authorities consulted scores of Iraqis from all areas of society, and received nominations.

New council member Adnoun Al-Bachechi was appointed based on his long experience as an Iraqi diplomat and a prominent businessman. Prior to Saddam Hussein's rule, he spent a decade in government, serving as the Iraqi foreign minister and as Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations between 1959 and 1969.

Mr. Bachechi says the governing council is only temporary, meant to be the forerunner of a larger constitutional assembly, which will have about a year to draft a new constitution. National elections to select a sovereign Iraqi government are expected to follow.

"So, this is the first step, because the governing council will draft and enact all of the necessary laws, like the broad outlines of a constitution, election laws, population census, law for the formation of political parties, and so on and so forth. The governing council will have to look into the budget, the financial and fiscal problems of Iraq and the very important question of unemployment," Mr. Bachechi said.

The governing council is expected to have broad representation, including leaders of prominent Shiite and Sunni Muslim parties, secular party members, and independent politicians. Women are also expected to play a prominent role.

The council will not be independent, however. Council members are expected to consult the U.S.-led provisional administration on all important issues.

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