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Kurdish Politician Elected Iraq's New President

Fuad Masum has been approved as Iraq's new president.

Iraq's parliament has elected veteran Kurdish politician Fuad Masum as the country's next president, the second step in forming a new government.

Masum, 76, was overwhelmingly elected in a secret vote on July 24.

He will replace Jalal Talabani, who is at the end of his second term.

Iraqi politicians have been in a deadlock over the formation of a new government since an election in April.

Under an informal power-sharing agreement in place since the 2003 ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein, the position of Iraqi president goes to a Kurd.

The parliament speaker -- elected last week -- is a Sunni Muslim, and the prime minister should be a Shi'a.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ruled since the election in a caretaker capacity, defying demands from the Sunnis and Kurds that he step down.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa

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