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Iraq's Legislature chooses leaders

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The Legislature elected members to three key posts in first steps toward forming a new government. (Source: CNN) The Legislature elected members to three key posts in first steps toward forming a new government. (Source: CNN)

BAGHDAD (CBS) - Iraqi politicians broke their deadlock on Tuesday and elected a new speaker of Parliament taking the first formal step toward forming a new government that is widely seen as crucial to confronting militants who have overrun much of the country.

However, it was not clear whether lawmakers had reached a larger deal that would also include agreement on the most contentious decision, the choice for prime minister.

The incumbent, Nouri al-Maliki, has ruled the country since 2006 but is under intense pressure to step aside.

So far, he has insisted on staying for a third term.

After voting behind closed doors, the Legislature tallied the results on a white board wheeled into the hall that showed Sunni lawmaker Salim al-Jubouri winning with 194 votes in the 328-seat body.

A second candidate, Shorooq al-Abayachi, received 19 votes.

There were 60 abstentions.

Two deputy speakers - one Shiite and one Kurd - were then elected.

According to the constitution, Parliament now has 30 days to elect a president, who will then have 15 days to ask the leader of the largest bloc in the Legislature to form a government.

Then a prime minister will be picked.

Under an informal agreement that took hold after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the speaker's chair goes to a Sunni, the presidency to a Kurd and the prime minister's post to a Shiite.

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