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Q&A: What's next for Iraq

By Times Staff
Published March 2, 2004

Q: Now that Iraq has an interim constitution, what's the next step before Iraqis assume power?

A: The Iraqis must decide next how to form a transitional government to take power from the U.S.-led occupation authority on June 30. The U.S. road map accepted by the Iraqi Governing Council on Nov. 15 fell apart after the Shiite clergy objected to plans to select a legislature in regional caucuses rather than national elections. The United Nations agreed with Washington that elections by June 30 were impossible. U.N. help may be required to help the Governing Council come up with a new formula for a transitional government to run the country until national elections.

Q. When will those elections be held?

A. The interim constitution calls for elections for a National Assembly, or parliament, by Jan. 31, 2005. Members of the assembly will then choose a president, two deputy presidents and a prime minister. Once that process is completed, the transitional government will leave office.

Q. How long will the interim constitution remain in effect?

A. The interim charter, known officially as the Transitional Administrative Law, is supposed to expire once a permanent constitution has been drafted and approved by the end of 2005.

Q. What will be the American role after Iraqis take power?

A. Once Iraqis assume sovereignty June 30, the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority will cease operations. An American Embassy will be reconstituted to help Iraqis continue with reconstruction and with the building of a democratic system.

Q. Will American troops remain after June 30?

A. Yes, but their numbers will be pared down from 130,000 to about 110,000. The elected National Assembly will negotiate a new status of forces agreement defining the American security role and the rules under which U.S. and other allied forces operate.

[Last modified March 2, 2004, 01:44:59]

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