BAGHDAD, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi lawmakers on Thursday elected Fuad Masoum as the new president of Iraq, signalling important progress in forming a new government.
Mohammed Fuad Masoum, known as Fuad Masoum, won 211 votes from 269 lawmakers who attended the session of the 328-seat parliament.
"We declare that Fuad Masoum is the president of the Republic of Iraq," newly-elected parliament speaker Salim al-Jubouri said after announcing results of the vote.
Thursday's vote was the second round. In the first round, Masoum emerged as the top winner among more than 100 candidates with 175 votes that was short of the required two-thirds majority.
In the second round, Masoum competed with another candidate and won the majority of votes.
According to the Iraqi constitution, the parliament should elect the president from among the candidates by a two-thirds majority of its members, and if none of the candidates received the required majority, a second round of voting then will be on the two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the first round.
Shortly after winning the second vote, Masoum was sworn in as the new president in the presence of Medhat al-Mahmoud, the head of the Iraqi Supreme Judiciary Council.
Mohammed Fuad Masoum, 76, was the first prime minister of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan in 1992. He is a leading figure in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, headed by the outgoing president, Jalal Talabani.
Masoum was the head of the Kurdistan Alliance in the Iraqi parliament since 2005.
The Kurds nominated Masoum a few days after the ailing Talabani, 81, returned from 18 months of medical treatment in Germany.
On July 15, Salim al-Jubouri was elected speaker for the parliament. The country's constitution requires a new president to be chosen 30 days after the speaker is elected.
Around two weeks after the new head of state is elected, the bloc with the most lawmakers will nominate a prime minister who will be responsible for forming a new government.