Many Iraqi government ministries, both previously and under the new interim government, have a distinctly sectarian cast to them, dominated either by Sunni or Shiite Muslims.
On Wednesday, as a group of workers at the Ministry of Health chatted in a room adorned with posters of Shiite hero-saints, the talk quickly turned to expressions of resentment that Islamic fundamentalists had not attained more of the top posts.
Amid the political ferment, day-to-day violence continued to shadow the capital. For the third time in as many days, a car bomb exploded in the heart of Baghdad, killing at least five people and injuring about three dozen others, according to police and hospital officials. The midday explosion, in the Sunni Muslim neighborhood of Aadmiyah, occurred in a busy shopping and residential area.
"I saw a woman in her veil bleeding on the ground, with everything in her shopping basket scattered and covered with blood," said Kassim Mohammed Abbas, a gardener who was working nearby.
Members of the interim government, which will serve until direct elections can be held next year, fear being caught up in the violence -- whether random or directed at them.
The American-educated public works minister, Nasreen Mustapha Berwari, who is continuing in her job under the interim administration, escaped assassination in late March when gunmen opened fire on her convoy. Two members of the Governing Council were assassinated.