DAVOS, Switzerland -- An Iraqi Cabinet minister suggested yesterday that Sunni Muslims and other groups who boycott this weekend's election should receive jobs in Iraqi ministries to give them a stake in the future of a democratic nation.
Minister of Public Works Nesreen Berwari told a panel on Mideast issues at the World Economic Forum that one practical solution is to try to include minority Sunnis and others from areas facing extremist attacks in government ministries ''so they can voice the region's aspirations."
Another idea being discussed is the creation of an advisory council that would ensure all views are presented to the new assembly and government, she said.
''Inclusion is going to be the next challenge after the election," Berwari said.
She predicted that voter turnout in some areas of Iraq will be unexpectedly high on Sunday -- ''even higher than any place you would compare within America or Europe" -- but in some areas turnout will be lower because of violence and intimidation by extremists.
Sunni extremists have threatened to sabotage the election and many Sunni clerics have called for a boycott because of the presence of 170,000 US and other foreign troops. The two areas facing the most serious security problems are the so-called Sunni Triangle north and west of Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul.
''I think the results will put a challenge on the parliament and the new government that will be formed to find new ways to include the regions that were not able to vote, in a different form," Berwari said. ''They have to participate in the new governing body, and that will be the next challenge."
She stressed that most candidate lists for the 275-member National Assembly are national and include minority Sunnis and Kurds as well as majority Shi'ites, who are expected to win control of the legislature.
But Berwari expressed hope that the newly elected government will include people who didn't vote.
''Legitimacy is going to depend not only on the result but also on how well the newly elected parliament and appointed government will react to this vote," she said.
Berwari, the highest-ranking Iraqi attending the annual meeting of 2,500 top international executives, politicians, and leaders, said ''constitutions should not be drafted by parliament members."