Iraq's new President Barham Salih, center right, walks with new Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, center left, in the parliament building in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. Iraq's new president has tasked veteran Shiite politician Abdul-Mahdi with forming a new government nearly five months after national elections were held, state TV reported late Tuesday. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Iraq's president to take office, independent tapped as PM

October 03, 2018 - 4:28 am

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's new president is set to take office after tapping an independent Shiite lawmaker for the post of prime minister.

Barham Salih, a longtime Kurdish politician, will assume power in a formal handover ceremony on Wednesday, a day after being elected and sworn in by parliament. Under an unofficial agreement dating back to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Iraq's presidency — a largely ceremonial role — is held by a Kurd, while the prime minister is Shiite and the parliament speaker is Sunni.

Salih has tasked Adel Abdul-Mahdi, a former vice president, with forming a government. He has 30 days to submit his cabinet to parliament for approval.

No single party won an outright majority in national elections in May. Two Shiite-led blocs claim to have majority support in the legislature.

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