BAGHDAD, April 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Hachim al-Hasani, an experienced businessman and active politician, was elected on Sunday by Iraqi lawmakers as speaker of the newly sworn-in National Assembly (parliament).
Hasani garnered 215 votes in a secret ballot on five candidates.
The Sunni Arab used to serve as spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party, the biggest political group in the Sunni community, but he quit his membership in the run-up to the elections on Jan. 30.
He remained as minister of industry when Hussein Hamid, the party leader, decided to pull all the members out of the interim government last November in protest against the US-Iraqi military operation in the restive city of Fallujah.
The party also boycotted the elections, complaining that a hasty poll would only cause havoc when voters were not secured.
Hasani then took part in an alliance headed by outgoing President Ghazi al-Yawar, also a Sunni, whose list won five seats in the parliamentary elections.
His successful bid for the speaker post was seen as a compromise after Yawar's withdrawal from the competition and a fierce rejection from the Shiites against the nomination of Meshaan al-Jobouri, a Sunni merchant said related to the toppled regime.
Born in 1954 in Kirkuk, Hasani graduated from Mosul University in northern Iraq. He went to the United States in 1979 to pursue further learnings in the International Trade College in Nebraska University.
He gained his professorship in the Connecticut University and then started giving lectures in US universities while heading an internet company.
As director of the American Investment and Trading Company in Los Angeles, Hasani also maintained memberships in several non-governmental organizations.
Before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Hasani stepped onto Iraq's political stage as an oppositionist to Saddam Hussein's regime and joined the Iraqi Islamic Party. Enditem