ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In a statement after he was elected as the new President of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani expressed his gratitude to the Kurdistan Parliament for its vote of confidence and promised his office would be an “umbrella for unity” for all entities in the autonomous region.
In a parliamentary session earlier on Tuesday, 68 lawmakers from the Kurdistan Region’s 111-seat legislature voted in favor of Barzani. He is expected to take his oath of office shortly after the Eid al-Fitr holidays.
Only 81 MPs attended the Tuesday session as opposition caucuses as well as the runner-up Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) all boycotted the gathering. The PUK’s move comes even as they had signed multiple agreements with the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on government formation.
“I reassure all Kurdistanis that the regional presidency will be the umbrella for unity and assembler of all of Kurdistan’s political entities and ethnic and religious minorities with different thoughts and opinions for the sake of peaceful coexistence,” a statement from Barzani read.
“Peace, social harmony, and guaranteeing individual and social rights will be our main aim by employing dialogue to resolve all issues between the [Kurdistan] region and federal government [of Iraq] within the framework of the [national] constitution,” he added.
Andrew Murrison, British Minister of State for the Middle East, welcomed the election as well, stating, “The UK looks forward to ever stronger relations with Kurdistan,” in a social media post on Twitter.
The US Consulate in Erbil also offered their congratulatory remarks on Twitter, writing: “We look forward to working with President Barzani over the coming four years.”
During a State Department briefing on Tuesday, Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Washington welcomes Barzani’s appointment as new Kurdistan Region President and hailed him as a “close partner.”
Former US diplomat Brett McGurk also wrote on Twitter, “Congratulations to the new President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani. There are few more skilled and talented leaders, which the Middle East region needs at such an important time.”
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu phoned Barzani following his election and congratulated him on the win and wished him success on his new role, a statement from his office said. Barzani, in turn, thanked the FM and hoped for “furthering bilateral relations in all areas.”
Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Mohammad al-Halbousi also congratulated Barzani in a phone call and “expressed his trust” in Barzani’s abilities, which “will be a factor in his success in his duties,” another statement from the office of Barzani read.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany