Iraq's Talabani re-elected head of key Kurdish party

18:08, June 12, 2010      

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Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was unanimously re-elected as secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two leading Kurdish parties in the semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq, his party said on Saturday.

"In its Friday evening session, the third conference of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan unanimously elected Jalal Talabani as secretary general of the PUK," Talabani's party said in a statement posted on its website.

The conference also elected veteran Kurdish politicians Kosrat Rasul and Barham Salih as deputies for the secretary general of PUK, the party said.

In his speech at the conference, Talabani pledged to promote ties between his PUK party and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) , headed by the Kurdish regional president Massoud Barzani, and all other Iraqi parties, said the statement.

PUK, which controls Iraq's northeastern province of Sulaimaniyah, and the KDP, which controls the northern provinces of Duhuk and Arbil, are the largest Kurdish parties in the semi- autonomous region. The two have been dominant in the Iraqi Kurdish politics for more than three decades.

PUK's third conference came a year after the latest breakaway of key Kurdish members from Talabani's leadership, which followed the resignation in 2006 of Talabani's opponent Nashirwan Mustafa, a co-founder of PUK, as the party's deputy secretary general due to an internal power struggle.

Mustafa is now heading the Goran (Change in Kurdish) Movement, a splinter group from PUK which won 25 seats in the 111-seat Kurdish regional parliament and eight seats in the Iraqi parliament in the country's March 7 general elections.

Source: Xinhua


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