Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jalal Talabani (born 1933 in Kelkan ) is a prominent Iraqi Kurdish politician, who was named the President of Iraq on April 6, 2005. As founder and secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two main Iraqi Kurdish political parties, Talabani was a prominent member of the Interim Iraq Governing Council, which was established following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Talabani was born in the village of Kelkan in Southern Kurdistan. He had joined the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) at the age of 14, and was elected to the party's central committee at the age of 18 in 1951. He entered law school in 1953 and graduated as a barrister in 1959, after which he was conscripted into the Iraqi army.
He was the head of the KDP politburo during the 1960s, and an emerging figure in Kurdish politics. He left the KDP in 1966 to create what he described as a more educated, democratic and less tribal political faction. This ultimately led to the formation of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in 1975.
Under his leadership, the PUK quarreled with Massoud Barzani's KDP after the Gulf War in 1991. Talabani has since reconciled with Barzani. The KDP-PUK joint election slate, the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan, swept the Kurdish National Assembly election, 2005 as well as 77 seats in the Iraqi National Assembly election, 2005.
At the time of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Talabani continued to lead the PUK and had international respect and recognition for being a leading member of the Iraqi opposition which had remained within the country during the rule of Saddam Hussein. He was appointed by the United States as a leading member of the Interim Iraq Governing Council and held the presidency during the month of November 2003. He has distanced himself from the movement for Kurdish independence, pledging to support Iraqi federalism at least for the time being.
1947 Joined the Kurdistan Democratic Party
1953 Elected to the KDP central committee
1954 Elected as the Secretary General of the Kurdistan Students Union
1961 Head of the KDP Peshmerga
1975 Founded the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
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