The Road Ahead
U.S. officials will be deeply involved in Iraq's political transition in 2006. This is the tentative timeline for forming a government and revising the constitution, officials said:
Thursday -- Provisional election results are expected, followed by a period in which challenges to the results or balloting will be resolved.
First week of January -- Final results are expected.
15 days later -- The newly elected Council of Representatives, the renamed National Assembly, will convene and elect a speaker.
No deadline -- Council of Representatives will begin what are expected to be vigorous negotiations to choose a president and two deputies, who will make up a Presidential Council. The choices, expected to include a Shiite, Kurd and Sunni, must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the legislature.
Fifteen days after the Presidential Council is formed, the major parties must agree on a prime minister, who must be endorsed unanimously by the Presidential Council.
Thirty days later is the deadline for the prime minister to announce his cabinet.
The Council of Representatives then begins a four-month review of constitution.
After review, the council will vote on any new amendments.
Two months later, Iraqis will vote on a revised constitution. The United States hopes the process is complete by September.