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Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

© Ali al-Saadi, AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-24

Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum has been named the new president of Iraq following a parliamentary vote.

Massoum, 76, is one of the founders of current President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party. He is considered a soft-spoken moderate, known for keeping good relations with Sunni and Shiite Arab politicians.

The vote for president – a largely ceremonial post – was delayed for a day when the Kurdish bloc requested more time to select a candidate. They named Massoum as their pick late Wednesday.

Under an unofficial agreement dating back to the 2003 US-led invasion, Iraq's presidency is held by a Kurd while the prime minister is Shiite and the parliamentary speaker is Sunni.

Iraq's politicians have been in deadlock over forming a new government since an election in April. The next step, choosing a prime minister, may prove far more difficult.

Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ruled since the election in a caretaker capacity, defying demands from the Sunnis and Kurds that he step aside for a less divisive figure.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

Date created : 2014-07-24

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