What happens after Iraq's election commission announced certification Friday of the results of the Dec. 15 parliamentary election:

WHEN WILL PARLIAMENT CONVENE:

Under the constitution, President Jalal Talabani must convene the new 275-member parliament within two weeks of the certification of election results. Parliament has 30 days after it convenes to elect a new national president.

WHEN WILL A PRIME MINISTER BE CHOSEN:

Once the president is elected, he has 15 days to name a new prime minister from the ranks of the bloc with the biggest number of seats, which is the coalition of Shiite religious parties.

WHEN WILL THE CABINET BE CHOSEN:

The prime minister-designate has 30 days to present his Cabinet to parliament for approval by majority vote.

That timeline could push the process into May. However, the Iraqis have failed to meet deadlines before, most notably in the drafting of the constitution. If talks on a new government are proceeding, it is likely that they will be allowed to go beyond fixed deadlines in the interest of national unity.