Iraq's new Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari says he hopes to select a Cabinet within two weeks, giving his country its first democratically elected government in 50 years.
Mr. al-Jaafari, a Shi'ite Muslim, is a long-time opponent of the former Saddam Hussein regime in Baghdad. He was named prime minister Thursday after a swearing-in ceremony for Iraq's new president, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani.
Mr. al-Jaafari says formation of a new government following free elections will be a big step forward for all Iraqis. He has been described as a moderate Islamist, favoring a strong role for Muslim teachings but seeking to embrace all of Iraq's many religious and ethnic communities.
Many Sunni Muslims boycotted elections for a new National Assembly earlier this year, but President Talabani called on Sunnis once again Thursday to take part in Iraq's transition to democratic government. Several Cabinet posts have been set aside for Sunni lawmakers.
Two vice presidents, Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi and Sunni Arab Ghazi al-Yawar, also took the oath of office Thursday.