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Iraq: Executive Branch
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Government Overview > Executive Branch


The constitution of 2005 calls for the executive branch to consist of a president and vice president; a prime minister; and a governing body, the Council of Ministers, that has an unspecified number of positions. The president has mainly ceremonial duties, and his decisions require the approval of the prime minister. The prime minister, who is selected by the president from the majority party of the parliament and with the parliament’s approval, presides over the Council of Ministers, exercises executive responsibility for the running of the government, and acts as commander in chief of the armed forces. The Council of Ministers, whose members are nominated by the prime minister, is to plan and administer the general policies of the state, propose laws and budgets, negotiate treaties, and oversee the national security agencies.

In April 2005, the following individuals were chosen to lead the interim government through the approval of a constitution and election of permanent national officials: a Shia, Ibrahim al Jafari, as prime minister; a Kurd, Jalal Talabani, as president; and a Sunni, Hachim Hasani, as president of the National Assembly. Following approval of the constitution in October and parliamentary elections in December 2005, formation of a permanent government began. For a transitional period of one session of the legislature, executive power remained with a three-person Presidential Council consisting of the president and two vice presidents. The council’s actions required unanimity among its three members. Talabani remained president; his vice presidents were the Shia Adil Abdul Mahdi and the Sunni Tariq al Hashimi. In the spring of 2006, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who had replaced Jafari, was able to end months of political deadlock by gaining parliamentary approval of a full slate of 36 ministers, who constituted the first permanent government since 2003. Four ministers were women. In an attempt to broaden support for his government, in mid-2006 Maliki established the Supreme Committee for Reconciliation and National Dialogue, which included members from a wide cross-section of social groups.

Data as of August 2006

Last Updated: August 2006

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Iraq was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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