Iraq elects president, prepares to choose prime minister

Massoum's election begins the selection of a prime minister.
By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   July 24, 2014 at 10:51 AM
| License Photo

BAGHDAD, July 24 (UPI) -- Kurdish leader Fouad Massoum was elected Iraq's new president by Parliament Thursday and immediately sworn in.

Massoum, 76, a veteran politician, fought as a guerrilla against Saddam Hussein, and replaces Jalal Talabani, who was regarded as a unifying force in Iraq's fractious government until he suffered a stroke in 2012.

The election clears the way for choosing a prime minister. While Nouri al-Maliki has held that position since 2006 and is seeking re-election, many legislators view him as a divisive figure in a country beset by ethnic disputes, disagreements between Muslim sects, and open warfare.

Iraq has essentially been partitioned: northern Kurds are making arrangements for a referendum on independence and gradually withdrawing from government positions; Shiite Muslims control Baghdad and the southern part of the country; and a Sunni-led "Islamic State" occupies the middle.

Massoum's election comes a week after Salim al-Jubouri, a Sunni Muslim regarded as a moderate, was installed as the Parliament's speaker.

Massoum is "a moderate man and was agreed to by everyone," said legislator and Shiite Abbas al-Bayati. "A man who refuses divisions, and this is what we look for in the Iraqi president."

Political analyst Hashim al-Hashimi noted, "This is for sure a great achievement. Now the road is paved to nominate the prime minister and form the government."

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from
Related UPI Stories
share with facebook
share with twitter
Trending Stories