ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Erbil Provincial Council (EPC) on Thursday, with an absolute majority of votes, elected Dr. Firsat Sofi as the new Governor of Erbil.
The vote came one day after Nawzad Hadi, former Governor of Erbil, officially stepped down from the post in a farewell press conference. Sofi, 41, received 27 votes out of 28 attending members of the EPC.
He has a PhD in Law and was a former lawmaker in the Kurdistan Parliament. In the past years, he has served in many other government and parliament-related posts, and previously taught as a lecturer at the Erbil Polytechnic University.
Sofi was the only lawmaker in the Kurdistan Parliament to refuse his retirement pension after a debate erupted over controversial pension funds dedicated to retired members of parliament.
Sofi is expected to take office on Sunday, once the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region issued a decree.
Talking to reporters on Thursday, the new governor thanked his predecessor Nawzad Hadi for his 15 years of service to the province and promised to attract more investments and prosperity to Erbil.
Nawzad Hadi, 56, was elected in 2004 as governor in the wake of two deadly terrorist attacks that rocked the city of Erbil. Many senior Kurdish leaders and officials, including then-governor of Erbil, Akram Muntek, were killed.
Moving on from his role, Hadi is believed to be headed to the office of the Kurdistan Region Presidency as an advisor, a source from the EPC previously told Kurdistan 24 on condition of anonymity.
Since 2004, about 17,000 projects have been carried out in the province of Erbil, which includes 35 towns, districts, and sub-districts.
Changes in the governorship and many other local administration posts in the Erbil and Duhok provinces are part of efforts by the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the government to reform the region and provide better services to people.
Editing by Nadia Riva