Iraq's new interim prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, says he hopes to select a cabinet within two weeks, giving his country its first democratically elected government in 50 years.
Mr. al-Jaafari's nomination came after Thursday's swearing in of Kurdish politician Jalal Talabani as Iraq's president. Mr. Talabani urged Sunni Arabs -- who are believed to make up the backbone of the insurgency -- to participate in the democratic process. Several spots in the cabinet have been set aside for Sunni lawmakers.
Two vice presidents, Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi and Sunni Arab Ghazi al-Yawar, also took the oath of office Thursday. Here in Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called the developments historic. He also downplayed lawmakers' delays in choosing candidates for key posts, saying that is what happens in democracies.