ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Nechirvan Barzani on Monday was sworn in as the new President of the autonomous Kurdistan Region in a special ceremony attended by high-level leaders and dignitaries, both local and foreign.
Due to the increased number of guests taking part in the inauguration, the Kurdistan Parliament’s leadership opted to hold the session and ceremony in the Saad Abdullah Conference Hall in Erbil.
Barzani took to the stage to thank all parliamentarians, those who voted for him as well as those who stood against him, for exercising their “democratic rights and duties” in the Kurdistan Region.
He praised his predecessor and first president of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, for his role and 55 years of struggle to obtain and secure the rights of all Kurdistani people.
Barzani mentioned that Kurdistan, as a federal region of Iraq, had proved itself and earned a seat at the table as an important player in the region and on the international scene. He added it would continue to further strengthen ties with its neighbors and other countries around the world.
In a dedicated parliamentary session on May 28, 68 lawmakers from the Kurdistan Region’s 111-seat legislature voted in favor of Nechirvan Barzani as the new President of the Kurdish autonomous region.
Nechirvan Barzani is also the deputy head of the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Born in 1966, Barzani was elected as the deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region in 1996. He was elected as Prime Minister in 1999 and 2006. He continued serving after subsequently being re-elected to the post in 2011 and 2013, until May 28, 2019.
In his new role, Barzani called for unity among the political parties in the Kurdistan Region and hope the Constitution of Iraq would be implemented in full “to prevent the reemergence of jihadist group like Da’esh [ISIS] and other tragic incidents like Shingal,” in reference to the crimes against humanity committed by the militant group in northern Iraq and disputed territories.
Masoud Barzani, the former president and current head of the KDP, also delivered a short speech, expressing his support for the new president and calling on the implementation of the Iraqi constitution to resolve long-standing disputes between Erbil and Baghdad.
Other senior officials like Iraqi President Barham Salih, Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, and influential Shia cleric Ammar al-Hakim also attended the event, congratulating Nechirvan Barzani in their brief addresses, noting to respectfully call back to the previous leader, Masoud Barzani, and his contribution to the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
The Speaker of Kurdistan Parliament, Vala Fareed, suspended the session until Tuesday morning, where Parliament will vote for a new Prime Minister. The position is expected to be given to Masrour Barzani, the current Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC).
The new Prime Minister will have 30 days to form the new cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Editing by Nadia Riva