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Iraqi lawmakers elected Fuad Massoum, one of the founders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, as the new president of Iraq on Thursday. Iraq’s presidency is a largely ceremonial position -- until 2003, the president rotated by religious affiliation, after 2003, it was determined that the president would be Kurdish, the prime minister Shiite, and the head of parliament Sunni. Massoum was elected by a two-thirds majority in parliament, and underscored major tasks ahead of Iraq’s new government, including security, political, and economic changes.
His election comes in the midst of a particularly tense period of rebellion in Iraq, and on the heels of a particularly intense attack on a prison that killed dozens of people. Massoum is known for having good relations with politicians across religious parties -- he will be responsible for selecting a candidate for prime minister to continue the process of forming a new government.
How do Iraq’s political leadership positions reflect the nation? What will the new president’s role be in shaping a new government?
Eric Davis, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and past director of the University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies; His blog is “The New Middle East”