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Sunnis, Kurds vie for Iraqi presidency

Although the post of president in Iraq has been held by a Kurdish politician, Jalal Talabani, since 2005, there are reports that some Sunni politicians may be looking to assume the post.
Osama al-Nujaifi, speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, casts his vote at a polling station during a parliamentary election in Baghdad April 30, 2014. Iraqis headed to the polls on Wednesday in their first national election since U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki seeking a third term amid rising violence. REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS) - RTR3N8XT
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The post of president of the Republic of Iraq has become part of the political conflict. Any talk of the presidential aspirations of Osama al-Nujaifi — Iraq’s parliament speaker and head of the Sunni Mutahidoun bloc — is countered by the insistence of Kurdish parties and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region that the post be reserved for the Kurds. The latter argue that maintaining this post is the right of the Kurdish people.

Prior to the April 30 parliamentary elections, reports surfaced that the Sunnis sought to restore their control of this post, which they lost during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The reports said that Nujaifi was concluding understandings with various political forces to restore the post to the Sunnis. According to the Iraqi Constitution, the post of president is considered honorary.

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