Iraqi Governing Council

The Iraqi Governing Council was the provisional government of Iraq from July 13, 2003 to June 1, 2004. It was established by and served under the United States-led Coalition Provisional Authority. The IGC consisted of various Iraqi political and tribal leaders who were appointed by the CPA to provide advice and leadership of the country until the June 2004 transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government.
The Council consisted of 25 members. Its ethnic and religious breakdown included 13 Shias, five Sunnis, five Kurds, one Turkmen and an Assyrian. Three of its members were women.
In September 2003, the Iraqi Governing Council gained regional recognition from the Arab League, which agreed to seat its representative in Iraq's chair at its meetings. On June 1, 2004, the Council dissolved after choosing member Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer as the president of the new Iraq interim government. Full sovereignty was transferred to the interim government on June 28.

General information

Though subject to the authority of the CPA administrator Paul Bremer, the council had several key powers of its own. Their duties included appointing representatives to the United Nations, appointing interim ministers to Iraq's vacant cabinet positions, and drafting a temporary constitution, the Transitional Administrative Law. The TAL spelled out the provisions which were to govern the Iraqi Interim Government, and the timeline for holding elections to a National Assembly, drafting of a permanent constitution to be voted on by the Iraqi people, and elections to a permanent government.
Despite having to answer to the CPA, different factions took on controversial stands. Religious hardliners won a solid victory when Directive 137 was passed on December 29, 2003. Passed by the council in less than 15 minutes, it replaced Iraq's former secular family law code with Shari'a family law. This move met with wide protest among many Iraqi women fearful of how it will affect their freedom to make their own decisions about marriage, alimony, and many other issues where Iraq used to be a leader in the Arab world for women's rights. Other legislation passed by the council included declaring the day that Baghdad fell to be a national holiday, voting to establish a tribunal to try former government leaders, and banning television stations which are deemed to be supportive of the resistance. A new flag chosen by the council for post-Saddam Iraq created much controversy, in part because of the similarity of color and design with the flag of Israel, and the flag was not adopted.
According to the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, the interim constitution that the Council approved, the Council would cease to function after June 30, 2004, at which point full sovereignty would return to Iraq, and the government will be handed over to a new, sovereign interim government. Instead, the council chose to dissolve itself prematurely.

Presidents of the Iraqi Governing Council

NameTook officeLeft officePolitical party
Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum 13 July 200331 July 2003Non-party
Ibrahim al-Jaafari1 August 200331 August 2003Islamic Dawa Party
Ahmed Chalabi1 September 200330 September 2003Iraqi National Congress
Iyad Allawi1 October 200331 October 2003Iraqi National Accord
Jalal Talabani1 November 200330 November 2003Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim1 December 200331 December 2003Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq
Adnan Pachachi1 January 200431 January 2004Assembly of Independent Democrats
Mohsen Abdel Hamid1 February 200429 February 2004Iraqi Islamic Party
Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum 1 March 200431 March 2004Non-party
Massoud Barzani1 April 200430 April 2004Kurdistan Democratic Party
Ezzedine Salim1 May 200417 May 2004Islamic Dawa Party
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer17 May 20041 June 2004Non-party

Council Members

NamePolitical PartyReligion & Ethnicity
Samir Shakir MahmoudIndependentArab
Sondul ChapoukIndependentTurkmen
Wael Abdul LatifIndependentShiite Arab
Mowaffak al-RubaieIndependentShiite Arab
Dara Nur al-DinIndependentSunni Kurd
Ahmed al-BarakIndependentShiite Arab
Raja Habib al-KhuzaaiIndependentShiite Arab
Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum IndependentShiite Arab
Aquila al-Hashimi
Replaced by Salama al-Khufaji on December 8
Shiite Arab
Ahmed Chalabi Iraqi National CongressShiite Arab
Naseer al-ChaderchiNational Democratic PartySunni Arab
Adnan Pachachi Assembly of Independent DemocratsSunni Arab
Massoud Barzani Kurdistan Democratic PartySunni Kurd
Jalal Talabani – first President of IraqPatriotic Union of KurdistanSunni Kurd
Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim SCIRIShiite Arab
Yonadam KannaAssyrian Democratic MovementAssyrian Christian
Salaheddine BahaaeddinKurdistan Islamic UnionSunni Kurd
Mahmoud OthmanKSDPSunni Kurd
Hamid Majid MousaIraqi Communist PartyShiite Arab
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer
IndependentSunni Arab
Mohsen Abdel Hamid Iraqi Islamic PartySunni Arab
Iyad Allawi
Iraqi National AccordShiite Arab
Abdel-Karim Mahoud al-MohammedawiIraqi HezbollahShiite Arab
Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Islamic Dawa PartyShiite Arab
Ezzedine Salim
Islamic Dawa PartyShiite Arab

The presidency of Iraq rotated monthly among nine members of the council. A marks those members above.


On September 1, 2003, the council named its first cabinet. They were:
The Saddam-era positions of Minister of Defense and Minister of Information were dissolved.