ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Council of Representative has elected Barham Salih as the new president of Iraq.
After a majority vote in Tuesday’s session, the Iraqi Parliament elected the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) candidate, Salih, as the country’s new president.
He replaces Fuad Masum as Iraq’s eighth president.
A total of 219 MPs voted for Salih, while 22 MPs voted for Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) candidate Fuad Hussein despite the latter’s withdrawal from the race.
After taking the presidential oath at the parliament, Salih said he would protect the constitution and maintain the unity of Iraq.
“I promise to safeguard Iraq’s unity and safety,” he said during his swearing-in ceremony.
Salih added that he would become the president of Iraq as a whole not only the president of one component or party, stating he considers both Erbil and Najaf his home.
During a press conference on Sept. 19, PUK spokesperson Saadi Ahmed Pira announced that his party’s leadership, via a majority vote, nominated Salih as their candidate for Iraqi president.
Salih was previously the PUK’s Deputy Secretary-General, but due to the party’s internal turmoil, namely over the absence of its late leader, Jalal Talabani, he left the PUK in September 2017 to form his own bloc – the Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) – which won two seats in Iraq’s May 12 national election.
Iraq continues to follow its traditional system of power-sharing where the speaker of parliament is a Sunni Arab while the prime minister is picked from the Shia majority, and the president is a Kurd.
Since 2006, the PUK has been given the post of Iraqi president based on agreements with the leading KDP. However, following the May 12 vote, the KDP expressed its desire to take the post.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany