On June 28, 2004, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority officially transferred sovereignty in Iraq to the newly chosen Iraqi leadership. To the surprise of many, Ayad Allawi, a secular Shi'ite and former member of the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party, was named prime minister of the interim government. He was to hold office until general elections, scheduled for January 2005, could be held. As prime minister, Allawi adopted a policy of trying to reconcile with Ba'thists who had not been involved in criminal acts during former president Saddam Hussein's regime. Allawi held out the prospect of pardon for all rebels-Shi'ite or Sunni-willing to lay down their arms, though he remained tough on insurgents and supported the U.S. assault on the city of Fallujah.
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