The Two-Way
8:27 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Iraq Elects Kurdish Politician To Ceremonial Post Of President

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:32 pm

Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum has been elected president of Iraq by the country's parliament, another step in forming a new government after months of deadlock.

As Leila Fadel reports from Irbil in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region, "Massoum took his oath vowing to protect the constitution and the unity of Iraq. He made the promise as Iraq threatens to splinter into three pieces."

The vote for the largely ceremonial post of president was delayed for a day after the Kurdish bloc of legislators asked for more time to make their pick. Massoum was their choice.

Leila says:

"In the Kurdish north, calls for independence are growing, and relations between Baghdad and the region have soured since Sunni extremists overran much of northern and western Iraq. The Kurds used the opportunity to seize disputed territories they believe are part of a future independent state.

"Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki angered Kurdish leaders when he accused them of harboring terrorists. World leaders, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is visiting Iraq today, are urging an inclusive government as violence escalates in the capital."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.