ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Five candidates have nominated themselves for the post of President of autonomous Kurdistan Region, parliament announced on Sunday.
The candidates are incumbent Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Umed Abdulsalam Qadir, Mohammed Hama-Salih Omar, Rebwar Aziz Mustafa, and Hiwa Abdullah Khidir.
According to the Parliament’s earlier announcement, the candidate should not be younger than 40 years old, must be a resident of the Kurdistan Region, and maintain all civil and political rights.
The nominations came after Parliament on May 8, by majority vote, approved the draft bill entitled the Reactivation of the Office of the President of the Kurdistan Region – Iraq and Amending the Method of Electing the President Till the Ratification of a Constitution.
The key amendment in the presidency law is about the way the President is elected. Until now, the President of the Kurdistan Region was elected directly, by the people through a popular vote. The amendment, however, changes the mechanism and instead, allows for the president to be elected by parliament, with a 50+1 vote.
This process would continue until parliament is able to ratify its constitution for the Kurdistan Region, which would outline the official procedure for appointments to the post and the powers it would wield.
In November 2017, then-President Masoud Barzani announced he would end his already-extended term in the aftermath of the referendum on independence and as Kurdish parties failed to agree on a date for regional elections. Since then, the powers of the president have been delegated to the prime minister, parliamentary speaker, and the regional judiciary.
The Kurdistan Region held its parliamentary election on Sept. 30, with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) securing 45 seats in the 111-seat legislature. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Change Movement (Gorran) came in second and third place with 21 and 12 seats, respectively.
The KDP has already nominated the current Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Masrour Barzani as their candidate to form the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet as a Prime Minister.
The leading party previously stated that Nechirvan Barzani is their sole candidate for the post of the Kurdistan Region President, a candidate that expects to secure around 90 votes in the parliament due to agreements his party has signed with the PUK and Gorran, as well as the minority parties.
Editing by Nadia Riva