Latif Rasheed becomes Iraq’s new president

Although Rasheed is a member of the PUK, he was not named by his party as an official candidate for the position.
The Iraqi president-elect Latif Rasheed. (Photo: Submitted to Kurdistan 24)
The Iraqi president-elect Latif Rasheed. (Photo: Submitted to Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi lawmakers on Thursday overwhelmingly voted for Latif Rasheed to be the country’s 10th president.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on early Thursday withdrew its candidate, Rebar Ahmed, for the position, which was contested by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)’s incumbent Iraqi President Barham Salih.

KDP and a number of other popular Shiite and Sunni parties threw their support behind Rasheed, who served as Iraq’s minister of water resources for seven years.

Although Rasheed is a member of the PUK, he was not named by his party as an official candidate for the position.

Rasheed was able to secure 162 votes of the present MPs in the second round of voting while his rival, Salih, only obtained 99 votes. 

Congratulatory messages poured in from the top Iraqi and Kurdistan Region officials, wishing Rasheed success in his new endeavor. 

Rasheed was sworn in as the country's new president in front of the lawmakers later. 

He also tasked Mohammad Shia' Al-Sudani to form the next Iraqi government. 

Serving a term of the Iraqi presidency, Salih was elected president in 2018.

The President-elect was born in 1944 in Sulaimani province. He is married to Shanaz Ibrahim Ahmed, a top PUK official. They have two sons and a daughter. 

Rasheed had an active role in the Iraqi opposition front fighting against the former regime of Saddam Hussein. He was a member of the Iraqi National Congress. 

A graduate of civil engineering, Rasheed obtained his Master's degree and Ph.D. in the United Kingdom in Hydraulic Engineering.