Iraqi lawmakers say their parliament will likely convene Saturday to elect a speaker as they move closer to forming a new government eight weeks after the country's historic elections.
The politicians say they are close to finalizing a deal allocating ministries and key offices in the new government. Shi'ites, who were the big winners in the election, would have 16 to 17 ministries and the post of prime minister.
Iraq's Kurds, who won the second largest number of votes, are likely to get eight ministries and the presidency. The politicians say Iraq's Sunni minority, which largely boycotted the vote, will probably get between four and six ministries. Out-going Sunni president Ghazi al-Yawar is reported to be the leading candidate to become the assembly's new speaker.