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Iraq's New Leaders
Prime Minister, President, and two VPs are sworn in
By Suzanne Freeman

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and newly elected Iraqi President Jalal Talabani
Newly named Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (center right) and newly elected Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (left) hold a press conference after the National Assembly in Baghdad, Iraq Thursday April 7, 2005.
(Photo: Hadi Mizban/AP Wide World)
Iraq has four new leaders, including a new President and Prime Minister. Ibrahim al-Jafari, a Shiite Arab, was sworn in as Prime Minister today. He is now the country's most powerful elected official.

Iraq's President is a mostly ceremonial position. Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader, became Iraq's new interim President. The president's biggest task is to name the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's job is to run the government's day-to-day business and control the budget.

Two new Vice Presidents were also sworn in: Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite, and Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni Arab.

Next Steps

The new leaders are significant for two reasons. First, they come from diverse backgrounds and represent a new spirit of shared power. Iraq has long been under the control of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni. The Sunnis were a minority in Iraq. Kurds and Shiites now share power with the Sunnis for the first time in 50 years.

Secondly the newly elected power structure is an important step to freedom for the war-torn country. Iraq now has its first freely elected government in 50 years. With new leaders in place, the newly elected Parliament can begin work on writing a new constitution to guarantee freedom for the people of Iraq.

After a constitution is approved later this year, another election will be held in December.

"We will rebuild the Iraqi government on principles of democracy, federation, pluralism, equal citizenship, respect for human rights, independence, sovereignty, and the Islamic identity of the Iraqi government," said President Talibani at his swearing-in ceremony.