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Meanwhile in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah, Iraq’s ailing president, Jalal Talabani, returned to the country after more than 18 months abroad, state television said.
Talabani is wrapping up his second consecutive term as president, and is not eligible to run again. He suffered a stroke in late 2012, and was flown to Germany shortly afterwards for treatment and rehabilitation.
With Talabani’s term set to expire, Iraqi political leaders are in talks to decide on a new president as part of broader negotiations over forming a new government. Parliament is expected to meet Wednesday to discuss potential candidates.
Two names have emerged as front-runners to succeed Talabani — former deputy prime minister Barham Saleh and the Kirkuk provincial governor Najimaldin Karim.
Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed to this report.
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