BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Iraqi Governing Council (search) on Friday nominated one of its own members, Iyad Allawi (search), a Shiite Muslim physician who spent years in exile, to become prime minister of the new government to take power June 30, members said.
The chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, was at Friday's council session and congratulated Allawi on his nomination, said Mustafa al-Marayati, an aide to council member Raja Habib al-Khuzaai.
The council also planned to nominate a president and two vice presidents. But it was not known whether U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi (search) has approved the choices.
Brahimi has been leading the process for drawing up the new government, which also includes 26 Cabinet ministers. The final lineup is scheduled to be announced by Monday.
"The whole process is based on guidelines and recommendations made by" Brahimi, said al-Marayati.
Allawi was endorsed unanimously by the council, council member Mahmoud Othman said.
Allawi was formerly secretary-general of the Iraq National Accord, an opposition group made up in part by former military officers who had defected from Saddam Hussein's regime.
He was part of the opposition to the Iraqi regime in the early 1970s and was at the forefront of the exile movement against Saddam.
During his years in exile, Allawi was the little-known favorite of CIA officers wary of dealing with the flashier, better-known exile leader Ahmad Chalabi (search).
Chalabi, the favorite of the architects of the Iraq invasion at the Pentagon, has fallen out of favor in recent months after his information about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction (search) was discredited.
While living in London in 1978, Allawi survived an assassination attempt believed to have been ordered by Saddam.
His Iraqi National Accord group advocated a coup against Saddam but an attempt in 1996 failed. Allawi continued to have strong support within the State Department, CIA and Britain's MI-6 intelligence service.