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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 February 2006, 11:39 GMT
Shias nominate Jaafari as Iraq PM
Shia celebrations in Karbala
The Shia alliance is seeking allies for a new government
The Shia bloc set to lead Iraq's first full-term government has picked PM Ibrahim Jaafari as its candidate for prime minister in the new cabinet.

Mr Jaafari won by one vote over Vice-President Adel Abdel Mahdi.

Each was backed by two key factions in the United Iraqi Alliance, which fell just short of a majority in the poll.

Correspondents say the question for Mr Jaafari is if he can win the support of Sunni and Kurd politicians, who have been critical of his time in office.

His transitional government has been widely accused of poor performance and discrimination against Iraq's Sunni Arabs.

Deadlock

The UIA had delayed a decision on a candidate until Sunday, after failing to agree on a choice in talks on Saturday.

Graphic
United Iraqi Alliance 10 seats short of a majority
Kurdistan Alliance again likely coalition partner
Sunni Arabs gain much greater representation
Secular alliances win fewer seats
Former PM Iyad Allawi's bloc loses half its seats
Deputy PM Ahmed Chalabi's alliance wins no seats

The discussions among factions within the umbrella UIA came after final poll results confirmed the alliance was the biggest bloc in the new parliament.

Mr Mahdi narrowly lost out as prime minister to his UIA colleague and Islamic Dawa Party leader, Mr Jaafari, after elections for the transitional period last January.

Correspondents say Mr Jaafari is almost certain to lead the new government, given that the UIA is the biggest bloc in the new parliament.

But his appointment must first be confirmed by parliament, and formal negotiations with other groups about forming a coalition government have yet to begin.

It will be Iraq's first full-term government since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.

The two previous governments - run by Iyad Allawi and Mr Jaafari - were interim administrations.

Mr Jaafari was named as prime minister by Iraq's newly inaugurated presidential team in April 2005.

His cabinet oversaw the hotly debated drafting of a new constitution, approved by voters in October 2005.

The charter paved the way for parliamentary polls in December.

In a separate development, a lawyer for Saddam Hussein has said he was wrong to report that the former leader was to start a hunger strike.

The Jordan-based team said earlier that Saddam and his seven co-defendants were taking action from Monday in protest at the conduct of their trial.




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See Ibrahim Jaafari speaking after his nomination



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