Iraq names new president and premier
October 3, 2018
Iraq's parliament has elected as president Kurdish politician Barham Salih, who immediately named Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi prime minister-designate, ending months of deadlock after an inconclusive national election in May.
The presidency, traditionally occupied by a Kurd, is a largely ceremonial position, but the vote for Salih was a key step toward forming a new government, which politicians have failed to do since the election.
Under Iraq's constitution, Salih, a 58-year-old, British-educated engineer who has held office in the Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional governments, had 15 days to invite the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc to form a government.
A lurk worth almost $1 billion a year to the nation’s banks and financial institutions is next on the government’s hit list.
He chose to do so less than two hours after his election on Tuesday.
Since Saddam Hussein was toppled in a 2003 US-led invasion, power has been shared among Iraq's three largest ethnic-sectarian components.
The most powerful post, that of prime minister, has traditionally been held by a Shi'ite Arab, the speaker of parliament by a Sunni Arab and the presidency by a Kurd.
A former vice-president, oil minister and finance minister, Abdul Mahdi has 30 days to form a cabinet and present it to parliament for approval.
He faces the daunting tasks of rebuilding much of the country after four years of war with Islamic State militants, healing its ethnic and sectarian tensions, and balancing foreign relations with Iraq's two major allies - Iran and its arch-foe the United States.
Abdul Mahdi, 76, is a trained economist who left Iraq in 1969 for exile in France, where he worked for think-tanks and edited magazines in French and Arabic.
He was nominated by two rival blocs, one led by Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and outgoing prime minister Haider al-Abadi, and the other by Iran-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri and former premier Nuri al-Maliki.
Adbul Mahdi will become the first elected prime minister in post-Saddam Iraq not to hail from the Shi'ite Islamist Dawa party.
His Highness the Kuwait Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Kuwait Amir congratulates new Iraqi Pres.
KUWAIT-- His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Tuesday congratulated Barham Saleh for his election as Iraqi President by the parliament, wishing him success in his duties to honor aspirations of the Iraqi people.
His Highness the Amir, in a cable to Saleh, said he was looking forward to boosting relations and cooperation to new heights, wishing Iraq and its people live in security, stability and prosperity.
His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Sabah sent cables to Saleh on his election as president.