Accessibility links

Breaking News

Ethnic Groups Elect City Council in Mosul

A U.S. defense official says coalition forces have captured an Iraqi scientist believed to be involved in Iraq's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, representatives of several ethnic groups in the Iraqi city of Mosul have elected a city council, in the first election in a major Iraqi city since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Brian Purchia has the latest.

The 250 delegates held the vote Monday under tight U.S. security at a Mosul social club.

There was applause from the assembled delegates, as 24 council members were sworn in by Mosul's chief judge in front of U.S. Major General David Petraeus, who is in charge of U.S. forces in northwest Iraq.

“We sought to cast a very wide net to be as inclusive as possible and to try to ensure a representative government here in Mosul in Nineva province."

Arabs are the majority in Mosul and will dominate the new council, holding 13 of 24 seats and the position of mayor. The council also includes three Kurds, three Assyrian Christians, and members of at least three other ethnic groups.

Meanwhile, retired U.S. Army General Jay Garner in charge of rebuilding Iraq says he expects a group of up to nine Iraqis to run the country's interim government in the coming months.

Speaking in Baghdad, General Garner says the groups will likely include former exile Ahmad Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, and leaders of two Kurdish groups.

General Garner says May is a crucial month for the future of Iraq.

“I think, in the month that we do stabilize to a great degree, that we bring up the law enforcement, that we bring the public services back and that we begin now to see what we hope will be the emergence of a government, not a government, that's the wrong word -- a leadership that we can work with toward a democratic government process."