New Iraqi Cabinet Approved

Iraq's interim National Assembly has approved a partial Cabinet, including 27 ministers and five acting ministers. This is Iraq's first elected government since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Assembly members applauded as Speaker Hajim al-Hassani announced the Cabinet had been approved by 180 lawmakers out of the 185 present. There are 275-members in Iraq's parliament.

Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari submitted a broad-based Cabinet, including members of Iraq's main Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions. But disputes remained over two deputy prime ministers' slots and the defence, oil, electricity, industry and human rights ministries.

Al-Jaafari himself will be acting defence minister, a position that was supposed to go to a Sunni Arab. A former Pentagon favorite, Ahmad Chalabi, from al-Jaafari's Shiite-dominated alliance, will be one of four deputy prime ministers and acting oil minister. Kurdish official and former Vice President Rowsch Nouri Shaways will be another deputy and acting electricity minister.

Al-Jaafari has struggled to reconcile the competing demands of Iraq's myriad factions since the January 30th elections. Shiite leaders rejected his initial choices for a Sunni deputy prime minister and defence minister because of suspicions they had ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, which brutally repressed Iraq's majority Shiites and Kurds.

Lawmakers earlier said the Cabinet would include 17 Shiite Arab ministers, eight Kurds, six Sunnis and a Christian.

Among them are six women.