Monday, November 29, 1999

FACTBOX - Deadlines, steps in Iraq`s crawl towards a government

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REUTERS - A recount of votes cast in Baghdad did not change the results of Iraq's March 7 election, leaving intact the two-seat lead of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's cross-sectarian Iraqiya coalition.Because no coalition won enough seats for a majority in parliament, weeks of political negotiations may be needed before the formation of a new government.Here are the next official steps and constitutional deadlines as Iraq's fledgling democracy crawls toward establishing its next government:* The Independent High Electoral Commission said it would publish the preliminary results on Monday and objectors would have three days to file complaints before the results could be sent to a court for final certification.* The supreme court has no deadline for certifying the results but election officials said they did not expect a long delay. The court has been considering the results from 17 other provinces, excluding Baghdad, for several days already.* President Jalal Talabani must call on the new parliament to convene within 15 days from the date of the certification of the election results.* The oldest member of the Council of Representatives chairs the first session, in which members have a maximum of 15 days to elect a speaker and two deputies.* The council elects a new president within 30 days of its first session.* The new president has 15 days to ask the largest bloc in parliament to try to form a government and choose a prime minister.* The prime minister-designate must form a governing coalition and name a cabinet, or Council of Ministers, within 30 days.* If the prime minister-designate fails to pick a cabinet in the required time, the president has 15 days to nominate someone else to try to form a government.* The new prime minister designate has 30 days to try to form a governing coalition and council of ministers.* A new government is deemed to have been formed when a prime minister's cabinet nominees and their programmes win the approval of an absolute majority of the members of the Council of Representatives, or parliament.SOURCE: Iraqi constitution, election officials(Reporting by Waleed Ibrahim, Muhanad Mohammed and Ahmed Rasheed, editing by Jim Loney)

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