Jaafari’s decision to step aside as prime minister removes a major obstacle to forming a unity government in Iraq, says the N.Y. Times.

N.Y. Times:

Shiite Drops Bid to Keep Post as Premier By KIRK SEMPLE and RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 20 — Under intense domestic and American pressure, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari dropped his bid to retain his job on Thursday, removing a major obstacle to forming a new government during a time of rising sectarian violence.

Leaders from each of Iraq’s main factions — Sunni Arab, Shiite and Kurd — called the decision a breakthrough.

“I believe that we will succeed in forming the national unity government the people are waiting for,” Adnan Pachachi, the acting speaker of Parliament, said at a news conference at the Convention Center inside the fortified Green Zone.

But while Mr. Jaafari’s capitulation after two months of resistance could indeed resolve the stalemate, daunting political challenges lie ahead. Leaders are battling over high-level posts, and a new government will need to revive a moribund civil sector and inspire confidence in public leadership.


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