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Iraqi president not expected to seek re-election

  • Story Highlights
  • Iraq president Jalal Talabani says he will likely not seek re-election
  • Talabani, 75, has been president since April 2005
  • Talabani, a Kurd, played role in maintaining the country's ethnic balance
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will likely not seek re-election once his term ends.

Jalal Talabani says he will not run for Iraq's president again, but he plans to stay in the political arena.

Jalal Talabani says he will not run for Iraq's president again, but he plans to stay in the political arena.

Talabani, 75, has been president since April 2005. The ethnic Kurd was re-elected in 2006 for a four-year term.

Although he "has expressed his willingness not to seek another presidential nomination ... it does not mean that he will withdraw from the political and partisan arena," a message on Talabani's Web site said.

"President Talabani, on various occasions, sought to emphasize the importance and the need to devolve the power, tasks and responsibilities of leadership in the country to local authorities, especially at this stage when the country is going through political efforts by the parties to expand their bases," the statement said.

In Iraq, the prime minister wields most of the power. However, Talabani played an important role in maintaining the country's delicate ethnic balance.

The Iraqi parliament picks the president and two vice presidents, a Sunni and a Shia. All will leave office when parliamentary polls are held in December.

Talabani is the head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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