World Digest: Iraqi federal court certifies results of parliamentary elections
Court ruling clears way for new government
Nearly three months after the March 7 parliamentary elections, Iraq's federal court has ratified the results, in a major step toward forming the country's next government. But the appointment of a prime minister and cabinet is probably weeks if not months away, as political jockeying over top jobs continues.
The U.S. Embassy in Iraq welcomed the court certification. American officials have been concerned about the pace of seating the government, a process that coincides with a U.S. military drawdown to 50,000 troops by the end of summer. The certification follows months of political upset that many blame on Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's desire to keep his job, even though his coalition came in second to that of secular Shiite Ayad Allawi.
The court decided that the largest bloc on the day the 325-member parliament convenes will be the first contender to appoint the prime minister and cabinet. It is unclear whether the ruling is binding, but the tentative merger of Maliki's coalition with its Shiite rival, the Iraqi National Alliance, could mean that Allawi's bloc, most popular among Sunni Arabs and secular Iraqis, won't get to form the government.
Allawi, a former prime minister, maintains that his bloc, having prevailed in the elections with 91 seats, has the right to form the next government. A spokesman for his Iraqiya coalition said it still plans to do just that. Shutting out Iraqiya, spokesman Haider al-Mullah said, would be the "assassination" of the political process.
Many Sunni and secular Iraqis are angered by what they worry will be a Shiite-led government that contains only a smattering of Sunni leaders to appease the sizable Sunni Arab community.
-- Leila Fadel
Warnings were clear before deadly crash
The crew of a doomed Polish government airliner continued to try to land despite at least a dozen warnings from onboard systems to regain altitude, according to a dramatic transcript released Tuesday of the final moments of the flight that killed the country's president.
The transcript from the "black box" voice recorder appears to back the view of Edmund Klich, the lead Polish investigator, that the crash was caused by pilot error, something that could influence Poland's presidential election to replace Lech Kaczynski, killed in the April 10 crash along with 95 others.