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Iraqi Parliament To Meet To Pick President

3 April 2005 -- The newly elected speaker of the Iraqi National Assembly, Hajim al-Hassani, says the parliament will meet on 6 April to elect a state president.

Al-Hassani, the interim industry minister and a Sunni Muslim, was elected parliamentary speaker earlier today, ending days of deadlock.

He said the next session, at mid-week, will be devoted to the election of a president and vice presidents, who in turn will select a prime minister. He also spoke to members of the legislative body.

"It is high time for the Iraqis to enjoy their rights," he said. "Now, it is time for the Iraqis and from all sects to enjoy their rights under free, democratic and federalist country."

Former nuclear scientist Husayn al-Sharastani, a Shi'a, and a Kurd, Aref Tayfur, were elected as al-Hassani's deputies.

Meanwhile, yesterday's attack on the U.S.-run Abu Ghurayb prisons left over 40 U.S. soldiers and 12 detainees wounded. At least one rebel was killed in the 40-minute attack. The Al-Qaeda-linked group of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi today claimed responsibility for the attack.


[For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".]