Engineer, and Former President of Iraq
Iraqi leaders got their way over US opposition on Tuesday to have tribal chief Ghazi Yawar appointed president after Washington's choice stepped aside in a face-saving arrangement between occupiers and occupied.
In his first public remarks after being appointed, Yawar said that he wanted the United Nations Security Council to grant the country "full sovereignty" in a resolution now under discussion.
"We the Iraqis look forward to being granted full sovereignty through a Security Council resolution to enable us to rebuild a free, independent, democratic and federal unified homeland," he told a news conference.
After two days of bitter confrontation over the largely ceremonial post, Iraqi Governing Council members said Washington's preferred presidential candidate, elder statesman Adnan Pachachi, had turned down the post minutes after being offered it by the United Nations in defiance of the Council.
test of strength between Washington and the US-appointed Governing Council
lies ahead with the imminent announcement of 26 ministers to serve in an interim
cabinet until elections are held in the new year.
"Pachachi was named, then he turned it down and Yawar was named to the position instead. That's it, and everyone is happy," Council member Rajaa Habib Khuzai told Reuters.
UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, the man charged by Washington with naming an interim government, and Pachachi, an 81-year-old former foreign minister, were among those to congratulate Yawar, a civil engineer with ties to Saudi Arabia.
"Dr Adnan Pachachi, who enjoys wide respect and support in Iraq, was offered the Presidential position with the support of Sheikh Ghazi, but declined for personal reasons," Brahimi said in a statement confirming Yawar's appointment.
Pachachi told a news conference he had had the support of the majority of the Iraqi people but withdrew because he was opposed by "certain parties".
Reflecting the balance among Iraq's ethnic and religious groups, two vice presidents - one Shi'ite Muslim, the other a Kurd - were appointed to serve under the Sunni Muslim president. Prime Minister-designate Iyad Allawi, appointed on Friday, is from the long oppressed Shi'ite majority.
Paul Bremer, the head of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), and Brahimi were also set to announce the names of a cabinet line-up for the interim government that will take over from the occupation administration on June 30.
The Governing Council has broadly agreed a list of key cabinet appointees among themselves but aides to Council members said it now appeared that Brahimi and the US officials might disregard that and appoint a different line-up.
Brahimi was brought in by the United States to mediate between Washington and Iraq's various ethnic, religious and political groupings. But the Governing Council had sought to push its own candidates on the U.N. envoy.
The 22-member body, appointed by U.S. officials a year ago, has little clear support among ordinary Iraqis. But its members say they are the legitimate voice of the people following the U.S. invasion that ended Saddam's dictatorship 14 months ago.
US and UN officials have said in the past that the Governing Council did not have the right to make appointments on its own. It caught Brahimi off guard on Friday by announcing the appointment of one of their number, Allawi, to the top job of prime minister. Many of the other nominations from the Council have come from among their own ranks.
Despite Brahimi's suggestion some weeks ago that he would prefer to see an interim government of apolitical technocrats, the Council appears set on naming many of its own members to the new administration that will supersede its role this month.
Both Yawar and Pachachi are Council members from the long dominant Sunni Muslim minority.
The vice presidents are Ibrahim Jaafari, head of the Shi'ite Dawa party, and Rowsch Shways, from the Kurdistan Democratic Party. It was the offices of the rival Kurdistan Patriotic Union that were hit by the Baghdad blast.
Yawar, 46, is a US-trained civil engineer from the northern city of Mosul and a chief of one of the biggest tribes in Iraq and beyond its borders. Unlike the besuited Pachachi, he generally appears in traditional Arab robes and headdress.
He enjoys support from Kurds and Shi'ites and worked for many years in Saudi Arabia, where he also retains close ties.
In his home city of Mosul, people gathered at Yawar's father's home to celebrate, some of them firing in the air.
It was unclear why Washington was objecting to Yawar. He has criticised the US-drafted UN resolution that sets out the handover plan, complaining it gives Iraqis too little control of the 150,000 mainly American foreign soldiers staying in Iraq.
Hoshiyar Zebari, the foreign minister in the current cabinet appointed by the occupation authority, was heading to the United Nations in New York on Tuesday to press for "full sovereignty", said a senior ministerial official.
He added that Zebari expected to stay on in his post.