'Hoshyar Zebari will be the next President of Iraq': KDP official

"In the past, the position of Iraq's presidency has been used against the Kurds and for putting obstacles in the way of the Kurdistan Regional Government's work."
KDP Politburo member Hoshyar Zebari (Photo: Hadi Mizban/AP)
KDP Politburo member Hoshyar Zebari (Photo: Hadi Mizban/AP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) politburo member Hoshyar Zebari will be Iraqi's next president, said Masoud Haider, an advisor to KDP President Masoud Barzani, on Wednesday. 

"Hoshyar Zebari will win the democratic competition and become Iraq's next president," Haider told Kurdistan 24.

"In the past, the position of Iraq's presidency has been used against the Kurds and for putting obstacles in the way of the Kurdistan Regional Government's work," he said. 

Haider underlined that the previous Iraqi presidents had no role in protecting the Iraqi constitution and the constitutional rights of Kurds. Prior presidents have also failed to ensure the Kurdistan Region received its constitutional share of the Iraqi budget or that Baghdad implemented the constitution's Article 140 to resolve the status of the disputed territories. 

"The new Iraqi parliament's presidency has now set the political map for Iraq's next stage," he said.

The KDP has formally submitted Zebari's name to the Iraqi Council of Representatives' presidency as the party's only candidate for the Iraqi presidency.

The Iraqi Parliament opened the door to presidential candidates on Jan. 10. Lawmakers have to hold a session to elect a nominee no later than Feb. 8.

Haider underlined that the PUK didn't attend the first session of parliament that elected the body's presidency on Jan. 9, describing it as the moment Kurdish unity in Baghdad ended.

"The PUK didn't support electing the KDP member for the second deputy speaker's position and later insisted that Iraq's president position must only be for PUK," he said.

Haider pointed out that PUK's political decision toward Iraqi affairs is not in its hand and that all Kurdish positions in Baghdad are for Kurds, not just the PUK.

"The PUK relies on external powers for its candidates to succeed," he said. "However, the PUK should accept Zebari's victory."

Read More: Iraqi presidency doesn't exclusively belong to one party: KDP spokesperson

The Iraqi Federal Court ruled on Tuesday that the Iraqi Parliament's first session on Jan. 9 was constitutional. 

The Court rejected two lawsuits filed on Jan. 13 that claimed the session, in which the Parliament's presidency was elected, breached both the constitution and parliamentary procedure.

Following the submission of these lawsuits, the Federal Court suspended the Parliament's speaker and his two deputies.

Read More: 'Parliament's Jan. 9 session was constitutional': Iraqi Federal Court

"Zebari is very well known at the national and international levels, and everyone knows that he was a successful foreign minister who was able to rebuild Iraq's institutional diplomacy," Haider said.

Zebari was born in 1953 and served as Iraq's foreign minister from 2004 until 2014. He was also the country's finance minister until September 2016.

Haider emphasized that the KDP, as the leading Kurdish political party in Iraq, should have the opportunity of attaining Iraq's presidency. 

"The KDP is playing an important and principal role in the Iraqi political process," he said. "Now, with the Sadrists, we share the same views about ruling Iraq based on its constitution."

Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist Movement, reaffirmed on Tuesday that they are proceeding with the formation of the national majority government and that the door is still open for those who will support such a government.

Read More: 'Iraqi Federal Court has proven its independence and integrity': Sadr