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Decision on Nominate Iraqi President Delayed - 2004-05-31


A member of the Iraqi Governing Council says a meeting to nominate the president of an interim government has been postponed until Tuesday.

Council member Mahmoud Othman told reporters in Baghdad today (Monday) that U.S. officials requested the one-day delay. Mr. Othman complained about what he described as "interference" by the United States and the United Nations in the selection process.

The U.S. - appointed Governing Council has been locked in a disagreement with U.S. and UN officials on who should become president when Iraqis take over sovereignty on June 30th.

Most Council members are said to favor current chairman Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawar, a civil engineer. The top U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, and the chief UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, reportedly support 81-year old former Iraqi Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi.

U.S. officials have denied Iraqi leaders are under pressure to chose Mr. Pachachi for the largely ceremonial post.

The delay means a deadline set by Mr. Brahimi to name a new Iraqi government by today will be missed.

Both candidates are Sunni Muslims. Shi'ite Muslims are the majority in Iraq.

The Iraqi Governing Council announced Friday the nomination of Shi'ite politician Iyad Allawi as the country's first post-war prime minister.

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

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