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Iraqi Council Elects Rotating Presidency - 2003-07-29

Iraq's Governing Council, set up by the U.S.-led coalition to run Iraq as an interim administration, elected a nine-member rotating presidency on Tuesday.

With Iraq's Governing Council members unable to agree on a single leader to serve as president, they opted to select a committee of nine, with each member serving as president for one month.

Charged with writing a new constitution that would pave the way for a general election, the 25-member council also has the right to appoint cabinet ministers and develop economic policies.

Mirroring the make-up of the council, the presidency has a slight Shiite Muslim majority of five, with two Sunni Muslim and two Kurdish members, as well.

The Shiites are Ahmad Chalabi, who is a leading figure in the Pentagon-backed Iraqi National Congress, Iyad Allawi, the head of the Iraqi National Accord Movement, and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who is number two in the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. They are joined by Ibrahim Jafari of the fundamentalist Dawa party and Mohamed Bahr al-Uloom, a liberal cleric.

The Sunnis are former foreign minister Adnan Pachachi and Mohsen Abdul Hamid. Kurdish members of Kurdistan Democratic Party chief Massoud Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani. There are no women on the rotating presidency.