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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Iraqi Assembly Convenes

The New York Times:

Seven weeks after Iraqis defied insurgent threats to take part in the country's first free election in decades, members of the constitutional assembly convened here today for the first time, even as a series of explosions shook the heart of the capital. The meeting, which lasted about an hour, was called even though leading politicians had failed so far to form a coalition government. The members of the 275-seat newly elected National Assembly walked quietly into the heavily fortified convention center on the west bank of the Tigris River, with little pomp but with a solemnity indicating they understood the gravity, and the immense hardships, of the task ahead of them. The largely ceremonial meeting adjourned after the assembly members took their oath of office soon after 1 p.m., without even taking the first formal step toward putting together a government: electing a president, two vice presidents and a speaker of the assembly. The members stood up together in the auditorium and raised their right hands as the head of the judiciary council charged them with upholding the country's newfound freedoms, among other duties. As a body, they represented the diverse nature of Iraqi society, with clerics in black turbans seated alongside Western-educated men in pinstripe suits and women in full-length robes.
They have a lot of work to do, and it will no doubt be difficult to find compromises that work and build a nation that will be strong and secure. I believe they are up to the task though. Good luck to the Iraqi Assembly! (Isn't it interesting that the NY Times just has to remind us in the firsrt paragraph that their is still violence in Iraq.)


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