Iraq's parliament has elected Kurdish politician Jalal Talabani as the country's president, ending a weeks-long impasse that will pave the way to forming a new government.
Mr. Talabani's post is largely ceremonial, but he pledged to work with all ethnic and religious groups to rebuild Iraq and restore security.
Two vice presidents were also elected Wednesday. They are Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi, who was the interim finance minister, and Sunni Arab Ghazi al-Yawar, who was the interim president.
The three member presidential council is expected to be sworn in on Thursday and then appoint Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shi'ite, as prime minister.
Iraqi officials say Saddam Hussein and other jailed officials of his regime were allowed to watch the parliamentary proceedings on television.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military reports an American soldier was killed in Baghdad on Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded near his patrol and insurgents opened fire.