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HomeNewsKurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid elected as new president of Iraq

Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid elected as new president of Iraq

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The Iraqi Parliament chose Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid to lead the country, breaking a political impasse, hours after several rockets struck Baghdad’s Green Zone.

At least nine rockets targeted Iraq’s Parliament inside the heavily fortified Green Zone, the seat of the government, ahead of a much-anticipated session where lawmakers forged ahead with the formation of the next government despite the political crisis. At least five people were wounded.

The attacks, which appeared to be an attempt to derail the session, occurred after the Coordination Framework, an alliance made up of mostly Iran-backed Shiite parties and led by al-Maliki, delivered a formal letter claiming to be the largest bloc in Parliament.

Following the two-round vote in parliament on Thursday, the newly elected president succeeded fellow Iraqi Kurd Barham Saleh as head of state. According to an assembly official quoted by Al Jazeera, the newly elected president received 162 votes to Saleh’s 99. Outgoing President Saleh reportedly walked out of the parliament building as the votes were tallied.

Latif, 78, has served as water resources minister from 2003 until 2010 and has been an adviser to the head of state since.

The attack during the session was condemned by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Twitter, saying “we categorically reject any attempt to obstruct the democratic process.”

“We support the completion of the constitutional deadlines to end the political crisis,” he said.

Last month on 28 September, three rockets struck the Green Zone as lawmakers prepared to choose the speaker of parliament. A session was being convened to renew confidence in parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi.

Iraq’s president, prime minister, and speaker of the parliament all belong to different sects in a power-sharing arrangement meant to prevent sectarian conflict. Iraq’s president is Kurdish, its prime minister, a Shia and its parliament speaker is Sunni.

(With inputs from agencies)

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