Iraqi Parliament Votes Kurd Fouad Massoum As New President

Iraq’s parliament voted Kurdish moderate Fouad Massoum as president Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

Massoum, 76, is known for working well with Sunni and Shiite politicians in Iraq, according to the AP. He is one of the founders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Party as well as its current president.

Massoum was tapped as the Kurdish bloc of parliament’s pick for president late Wednesday, which delayed the vote on a new Iraqi president -- a title that's largely ceremonial, with Iraq’s prime minister wielding the most power.

Since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Iraq has had an agreement to make the president a Kurd, the prime minister a Shiite and the parliament speaker a Sunni.

The naming of a prime minister is seen as crucial following large gains made by  Sunni militant group the Islamic State that included the seizure of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. Many blamed current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite who is under pressure to resign, for seeding Sunni discontent by not being inclusive enough. 

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