Basra Elects New Governor

AFP reports that Iraq's southern province of Basra chose a new governor on Tuesday, replacing a predecessor who quit in February amid protests against official incompetence.

Khalaf Abdel Samad, with 19 votes from provincial councillors, was elected governor, and Jabar Jabar Amin, who won 14, was reappointed chairman of the provincial council.

Both belong to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law party, and were among 32 candidates competing for the two posts, in an election attended by 34 of the provincial council's 35 members, an AFP reporter noted.

The former governor, Shiltagh Abboud, who was also from Maliki's party, resigned in February under pressure from the premier.

The new governor was head of the Martyrs' Association, a public body tasked with caring for families of victims of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein's regime.

Samad, 53, was jailed under Saddam in 1980 and 1991, before going into exile in the Netherlands.

He holds a doctorate in agriculture, and returned to Iraq a year after the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam in March 2003.

(Source: AFP)

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