KDP politburo chief Fazil Mirani speaks to journalists while campaigning in Pirmam, September 22, 2018. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) will not endorse Barham Salih for the Iraqi presidency following his nomination by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a KDP official said Saturday. The party will soon nominate its own candidate.
While out campaigning in Pirmam, Erbil province on Saturday for the September 30 Kurdistan Region election, KDP politburo chief Fazil Mirani said the party will soon field its own candidate for the largely ceremonial role.
“We will have our own candidate. He will clearly be competing dear Barham. If we accepted Barham Salih, we would not have a nominee,” Mirani said.
The PUK officially nominated Salih as its sole candidate on Wednesday. Salih resigned from the party he founded late last year, the Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ), and rejoined the PUK as its second deputy.
Sunday is the deadline for all parties to submit their preferred candidates before a secret ballot takes place in the Iraqi parliament on Tuesday.
Since 2005, the post of Iraq president has always been held by a member of the PUK.
“Our candidate will be determined by [KDP] President [Masoud] Barzani and it will be later discussed by us and then submitted to the commission in Baghdad,” Mirani explained.
There are multiple potential candidates within the KDP for the position, “but it has not yet been decided” who will run, he added.
Salih is reportedly backed unanimously by the Shiite and Sunni parties in the Iraqi parliament.
Latif Rashid, who failed to win the PUK nomination, told Rudaw he plans to run for president as an independent.
“It is in the interest of the public to have multiple nominees for each post and that the nation’s representatives choose just one of them,” Rashid said.
“A few months ago, many friends, politicians and civil society organizations asked me to nominate myself for the post of the president saying you have been in Baghdad for a long time... Thus, I wrote a correspondence to the PUK politburo asking for their support, and they expressed their readiness for that.”
Despite the PUK nominating Salih, “I informed the PUK that I am still running and not withdrawing,” Rashid added.