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Iraq assembly slated to meet March 16

[JURIST] Iraqi deputy prime minister Barham Salih said Sunday that the transitional national assembly chosen in the January 30 elections [JURIST Hot Topic news archive] and responsible for drafting a permanent constituton for Iraq replacing the current Transitional Administrative Law [text] would meet for the first time March 16. The 275-member assembly, dominated by the 140-member United Iraqi Alliance, a grouping which had the backing of Shiite religious leaders, will choose a president and two vice-presidents, who will in turn select a new prime minister to replace interim prime minister Iyad Allawi. The Alliance candidate for the prime ministership is Ibrahim Jaafari [BBC profile], currently the spokesman for the Islamic Daawa party [official website in Arabic], but the Alliance will have to form a coalition with other groups to get him selected, as it lacks the two-thirds majority necessary to push through its nominees for the other posts. Some Alliance members, as well as members of other political groups, have already expressed frustration over the fact that negotiations to form a new government have not yet been completed. Salih indicated that if an agreement on a government is not reached by March 16, negotiations would continue within the assembly. BBC News has more.

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