| GEO World|
| Talabani says asked to be Iraq president again|
| Updated at: 1421 PST, Sunday, March 07, 2010|
SULAIMANIYAH: Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said after casting his ballot in the country's general election on Sunday that he had been asked by several blocs to continue in his post.
"I have been asked by many, many Iraqi groups and lists to re-candidate myself," he told reporters in English in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, 270 kilometres (170 miles) north of Baghdad.
Talabani, wearing a suit and overcoat, walked with the aid of a cane into the polling station in one of the city's schools, escorted by around a dozen people.
His Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two main Kurdish former rebel factions, was long dominant in Sulaimaniyah but faces a fierce challenge in this election from the upstart Goran (Change) bloc, made up largely of PUK defectors.
Goran, which is contesting its first nationwide poll, is confident of winning the majority of Sulaimaniyah's 17 parliamentary seats, a notion supported by independent analysts.
But Talabani dismissed Goran's chances, saying: "Small groups like Goran cannot affect the future."
The PUK is running on the joint Kurdistania list with regional president Massud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the other main former rebel faction, and 11 other smaller groups.