BBC News Online profiles three secular political parties as part of a guide to the key players in post-Saddam Iraq.
IRAQI INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS
The Iraqi Independent Democrats party is the party of the moderate democrat Adnan Pachachi, considered one of Iraq's elder statesmen.
Mr Pachachi, aged 81, comes from a long-established Sunni political family in Iraq, and served as Iraqi foreign minister before the Baathists seized power in a coup in 1968.
Adnan Pachachi was said to the US choice for president
He was one the Governing Council members to hold the rotating presidency, and was said to be the UN's preferred candidate for president of the interim government.
He was reportedly offered the post but declined it, making way for the candidate backed by the majority of the Governing Council, Ghazi Yawer.
As a nationalist with a secular liberal outlook he has close ties with the US - President George W Bush described him as "one of Iraq's most respected leaders" in his 2004 State of the Union speech, at which he was First Lady Laura Bush's special guest.
He is well connected in the Gulf and spent his years of exile in Abu Dhabi, where he was an adviser to the government of the United Arab Emirates.
He gained degrees from the American University in Beirut and from Georgetown University in Washington.
The Iraqi Independent Democrats party was formed after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Two of its members held ministerial posts under the Governing Council and have retained them in the interim government - Mahdi al-Hafez is planning minister and Ayham al-Samarie is minister of electricity.
IRAQI COMMUNIST PARTY
The Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) has re-emerged after a 35-year ban under Saddam Hussein.
Founded in 1934, it played a key role in the coup which ousted the British-backed monarchy in 1958.
The ICP opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq, but two of its members agreed to join the US appointed Iraqi Governing Council.
A leading member of the party, Mufid Mohammad Jawad al-Jazairi is minister of culture in the interim government announced in June 2004, retaining the position which he held under the Iraqi Governing Council.
The ICP organised demonstrations and began publishing a newspaper soon after the former regime fell, building on a presence it had maintained by operating underground and from the Kurdish enclave in the north of Iraq.
It is reported to have won seats in several local elections, including in the largely Sunni province of al-Anbar.
The party has traditionally drawn support from poor Shias in southern Iraq, but now claims its membership spans a broad cross-section of the country's communities.
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
The National Democratic Party is led by Naseer al-Chaderchi, a secular Sunni moderate.
Mr Chaderchi had a seat on the Iraqi Governing Council but is not a member of the interim government.
He is the son of the leading democracy advocate Kamel al-Chaderchi who led the NDP in the 1950s and opposed the British-backed monarchy.
Mr Chaderchi, a Sunni, stayed in Iraq under the Baathists. He lives in Baghdad and works as a lawyer, businessman and farm owner.
Under the Governing Council, the party's Abdel Ameer Abboud Rahima was Minister for Agriculture, Hashim Abdel Rahman al-Shibli was minister for Justice.
Neither of them has retained their position in the interim government announced in June 2004.