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Al-Jaafari named to head new government
Updated: 2006-02-12 20:51

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Shiite lawmakers Sunday chose Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to head Iraq's new government, Shiite officials said.

Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari speaks to the media during a briefing in this Thursday, Aug. 4, 2005 file photo, in Baghdad, Iraq. Al-Jaafari won 64 votes, one more than Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi, officials said. There were two abstentions.

More than 100 lawmakers from the Shiite coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, gathered to vote.

The choice of the umbrella Shiite alliance is assured of becoming prime minister because Shiites won the most parliament seats in the Dec. 15 national elections.

Shiite lawyers cast their votes at the heavily guarded home of Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of Abdul-Mahdi's party. Al-Jaafari's supporters gathered in the compound cheered when word of the outcome emerged from the closed door meeting room.

Al-Jaafari, a physician, is a member of the Dawa Party and spent years in exile in Iran and Britain before returning to his homeland after the U.S.-led coalition ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003.

His government, which took office in April 2005, had been widely criticized for failing to improve the country's crumbling infrastructure or deal effectively with the Sunni-led insurgency.

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Al-Jaafari named to head new government


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