Iraqi PM Agrees to Step Aside
Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has reversed himself and agreed to step down. This is potentially a huge step forward toward democracy and stability.
Certainly, leaders in Iraq are relieved:
At a news conference outside the legislative hall, President Jalal Talabani expressed confidence that with the hurdle of the prime minister past, other disputes over top government jobs could be quickly overcome. “There will be a friendly atmosphere and there will be a national unity government,” he said.
Acting speaker Adnan Pachachi later said the Iraqi parliament session scheduled for Thursday would be delayed for two days to allow time “to intensify our efforts to overcome the obstacles,” created after Sunnis and Kurds rejected al-Jaafari’s nomination.
“I am confident we will succeed in forming the national unity government that all Iraqis are hoping for,” Pachachi said.
Richard Oppel adds,
In the long months of haggling that have dragged on since last December’s parliamentary elections, there have been many potential breakthroughs that came to naught, and other stubborn disputes remain before a government can take office. But the fight over the choice of a new prime minister has been the biggest stumbling block.
That’s it in a nutshell, I think. This is the best news out of Iraq in months. There’s still a lot that could go wrong, to be sure, but if this leads to the formation of a popularly acceptable governing coalition, we are at least back on track.