Next key dates in Iraq's transition to democracy:

Mid-February -- Target for National Assembly to convene. Will name presidential council, which picks prime minister and Cabinet, subject to assembly's approval.

Aug. 15 -- Deadline for assembly to draft permanent constitution.

Oct. 15 -- National referendum on draft constitution.

Dec. 15 -- If constitution approved, national election for permanent government. If charter rejected, elections for new transitional assembly.

Dec. 31 -- Permanent government seated, if constitution in place.