BAGHDAD — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani arrived in Germany today for further medical treatment after suffering a stroke, leaving Baghdad without an influential mediator able to bridge the country’s complex ethnic and sectarian rifts.
The ailing 79-year-old president was rushed to a hospital in the Iraqi capital late Monday because of what was described as a medical emergency.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said today that doctors have determined the president had a “very serious stroke,” and that he is showing signs of improvement.
Vice President Khudier al-Khuzaie will assume Talabani’s duties during his absence, Zebari said.
Iraq’s parliament has the authority to choose a new president should Talabani’s office become vacant.