Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Al-Jaafari outlines plans for new government

February 15, 2006

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Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, named his Shiite Muslim coalition's candidate to continue leading the country for the next four years, outlined plans Tuesday to build a broad-based government to tackle Iraq's woeful security conditions.

Al-Jaafari faced widespread criticism for being ineffective and controlling during his 10-month tenure as the country's top executive. He acknowledged his previous administration's weaknesses and vowed to listen to those outside his political circle in forming a government.

Al-Jaafari did not spell out any major proposed changes for his administration, but said he would tighten the screws on ministers, who he suggested had been spending too much time out of the country.

Al-Jaafari, a 58-year-old physician and theologian who has been active in Islamic politics for four decades, faces daunting challenges. Skeptical political blocs already are allying against him. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr within his own coalition demand more radical measures from the government. The coalition made him its choice for prime minister by a single vote in an election Sunday.

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