ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Parliament’s leadership announced lawmakers were to attend Tuesday’s session to elect a new President for the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
Five candidates have been presented or nominated for the key executive post.
“The new president will not take their oath on the same day they are elected by a 50+1 vote by lawmakers. It will happen after the Eid al-Fitr holidays, and will be marked by a special ceremony,” Umed Khoshnaw, the head of the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) parliamentary faction, told Kurdistan 24 on Saturday during a live interview.
It has been almost eight months since the Kurdistan Region held its parliamentary election, with the KDP securing 45 seats in the 111-seat assembly. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran came in second and third place with 21 and 12 seats, respectively.
The candidates to the presidency are incumbent Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Umed Abdulsalam Qadir, Mohammed Hama-Salih Omar, Rebwar Aziz Mustafa, and Hiwa Abdullah Khidir.
KDP lawmakers previously stated that Nechirvan Barzani was their sole candidate for the post, and he is expected to secure roughly 90 votes thanks to agreements his party has signed with the PUK and Gorran, as well as smaller minority parties.
On May 8, lawmakers passed a 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.”
Key provisions in the new law outline how the president is to be elected. Until now, the position was determined directly by the people through a popular vote. The amendment, however, changed the mechanism, and instead hands the decision-making process to the parliament, where the winner must achieve a 50+1 majority.
Once lawmakers elect a candidate, the presidential office will be inaugurated for the first time since its suspension in late 2017.
Following this, the new president will be charged with calling on the largest parliamentary coalition to present their nominee for the post of regional prime minister, for which the KDP favors the current Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), Masrour Barzani. He would then be required to form a new cabinet within a month of being approved by parliament.
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 Kurdistan Region Presidency have been suspended and powers of the president have been delegated to the prime minister, parliamentary speaker, and the regional judiciary.
Editing by Nadia Riva