Iraqi Governing Council set up. Communist leader included.
The New York Times has announced that after tense negotiations a group of Iraqi political parties and former exiles reached agreement to set up a Governing Council. The "authorities" and "responsibilities" of the Governing Council that will assume extensive executive powers have been set out in two documents agreed by the US and British occupying authorities. "The Governing Council will exercise specific powers immediately in addition to representing the interests of the Iraqi people to the [US and British authority] and the international community during Iraq's transition to a sovereign, democratic and representative government", says one of the documents. Of the 25 persons on the list, 13 are Shiite Muslims, a crucial concession to the religious group that makes up 60 per cent of Iraq's 24 million people. Five are Kurds and five are Sunni Muslims. Among the 25 is the Secretary General of the Iraqi Communist Party, Hamid Mousa. One commentator said of him, "How long the affable and assertive leader of the Iraqi Communist Party continues to serve on the Governing Council is anybody's guess. He was grudgingly admitted to the Council by the sheer force of his personality and the popularity and weight of the ICP. To the millions of Iraqis suffering under a state of national catastrophe, Hamid Majid Mousa will be a symbol of hope".