Iraqi parliament elects senior Kurdish politician as president, the second step towards forming a government. Paul Chapman reports.
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Iraq's parliament elects a new president.
The choice of senior Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum to fill the post comes at a critical time.
It's the second step along the rocky path to form a government.
The next step, choosing a prime minister, is likely to be far more difficult.
Iraq's current prime minister is ruling in a caretaker capacity.
The country's lawmakers have been in deadlock over the formation of a government since elections in April.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, visiting the Kurdish region of Iraq, is urging unity with the nation's entire survival at risk.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) BAN KI-MOON, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL, SAYING:
"This crisis requires the leaders in Arbil and leaders in Baghdad work together to maintain the unity of the country within its federal system and remove the danger of further tensions and conflict."
The crisis facing Iraq was highlighted by hundreds of Iraqi Christians marching on the U.N. office in Arbil to demand help for families displaced by Islamic State militants.
The militants now controlling the city of Mosul have warned non-Muslims there to convert to Islam, leave, or face execution.
The cleansing campaign has segregated the north along clear sectarian and ethnic lines, driving long-standing minority inhabitants from their homes.
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