- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

BAGHDAD (AP) - Aides to Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani say he will probably not seek re-election once his term expires at the end of this year.

The spokesman for Talabani’s party, Mula Bakhtiyar Mahmoud, says the president’s decision is not final but he wants to rest.

The 75-year-old Kurdish leader has served as president since 2005 and underwent heart surgery in the U.S. last year.

The prime minister wields most of the power, but Talabani has played a major role in mediating disputes among the country’s rival communities.

Parliament chooses the president and the two vice presidents _ one Shiite and one Sunni. They leave office when Iraqis elect a new parliament at the end of this year.

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