ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Regarding rumors that current Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani would be the party’s candidate for the Iraqi presidency, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official said on Wednesday that the KDP needs Barzani for Kurdistan.
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.
Kurdish parties have yet to announce their candidate or candidates for the symbolic and honorary post.
Recently, local Iraqi news outlets reported that the Kurdistan Region’s leading party’s candidate would be Nechirvan Barzani, the deputy head of the KDP and current Prime Minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
“Arabic media would like that, but we need Mr. Nechirvan for the Kurdistan Region,” Fazil Mirani, secretary of the KDP politburo, told Kurdistan 24.
Mirani’s comment comes as the second largest Kurdish party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), held a meeting in Sulaimani on Wednesday to discuss their candidate of choice for the Iraqi presidency.
Over the past few weeks, local media have reported that the PUK has several candidates which include Iraq’s current President Fuad Masum, Mala Bakhtiyar, Latif Rashid, and Mohammed Sabir. The former senior leader of PUK and current leader of Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ), Barham Salih, is reportedly another candidate for the post.
In Iraq’s May 12 national election, the KDP secured 25 seats out of a total 329 available seats in the Iraqi Parliament, remaining the Kurdistan Region’s largest party, followed by the PUK with 18 seats.
Since 2006, the PUK has received the Iraqi presidency post based on agreements with Barzani’s party. This time, the KDP has expressed a desire to take the position. Mirani and former Iraqi Foreign and Finance Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, are among the rumored nominees for the KDP.
Over the past four years, people and political analysts in Kurdistan have repeatedly criticized Masum for failing to play an active role in defending the Kurdistan Region’s rights and interests in Baghdad.
Sept. 25 is the deadline for the Iraqi Parliament to elect the country’s new president.
Editing by Nadia Riva and Karzan Sulaivany