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Iraqi Legislature Convenes To Choose President --> Jalal Talabani (in file photo) is expected to be named as Iraq's president 6 April 2005 -- The 275-member Iraqi parliament has begun meeting today to choose a president and two vice presidents, key steps in building Iraq's first elected government in 50 years.

The lawmakers are expected to choose Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as president.

The Iraqi parliament is expected to convene tomorrow to pick a prime minister. Shi'ite leader Ibrahim al-Ja'fari is widely believed to be the front-runner for that job.

Iraqi lawmakers have been in agreement over those two posts since national elections on 30 January. Disagreement over who should fill the two vice-presidential posts has created problems.

However, lawmakers yesterday reportedly agreed on who should fill the vice-presidential posts. They are Shi'ite Adel Abd al-Mahdi and interim President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir, a Sunni Arab.

The parliament should vote on their nominations today as well.


[For RFE/RL background, news, and analysis on events in Iraq, see our dedicated The New Iraq webpage.]