From left: KDP President Masoud Barzani, then chief of staff of the Kurdistan Region presidency Fuad Hussein, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, and KRG head of the Department for Foreign Relations meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2017. Photo: KRP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) President Masoud Barzani with "full force" will support Fuad Hussein for Iraqi presidency because of his “competence.”
"Concerning the appointing of the KDP candidate for the post of Iraqi president, we preferred for the Kurdistani parties to agree on one person, but unfortunately, that did not occur," Barzani wrote in a statement on Monday.
“And to decide on this matter, the KDP politburo gave me the liberty to nominate the post for president and due to his competence, I preferred to nominate Mr. Fuad Hussein for this position,” Barzani continued.
A native of Khanaqin, Hussein has lived much of his life in Baghdad and the Netherlands. He has a doctorate in international relations and speaks Kurdish, Arabic, English and Dutch.
Barzani added that "with full force, we are supporting Dr. Fuad Hussein and we wish him success."
After the fall of the Baath regime, Fuad Hussein was put in charge of revamping the country’s education curriculum.
He most recently served as chief of staff to Barzani in the now dissolved Kurdistan Region presidency.
The KDP leader described Hussein as "loyal." Barzani said he was confident Hussein "would execute his duties in the post very well for both the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, and all the components of Iraq and he would be a useful and committed person."
The KDP nominated
Hussein for president on Sunday, following the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) nomination of Barham Salih and the KDP saying they would not back Salih. Six other Kurdistani nominees are also in the running, although they lack large party backing.
“Mr. Masoud Barzani officially called on me to run as a KDP candidate for Iraqi presidency,” said Hussein on Sunday. “The visit by Mr Nechirvan Barzani to Baghdad is for this reason.”
Nechirvan Barzani, the KDP's deputy head and KRG Prime Minister, met with
most top Shiite political figures in the Iraqi capital and Najaf over the weekend.
KDP won 25 seats in the Iraqi election, while the PUK took 18 — the best performing parties from the Kurdistan Region. Salih led the Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) in the election, picking up 2 seats.
Last week Salih announced he was leaving the CDJ. The remaining party members are not supporting Salih’s bid for the presidency. He was a longtime member of the PUK before forming the CDJ in 2017.
The Iraqi presidency has gone to a member of the PUK since the new Iraq was formed in 2005. The KDP argues that the post does not belong to the PUK, but said that it is now the KDP’s turn given the party’s strong showing in the Iraqi election.
The KDP and PUK previously have agreed that the PUK would take the presidency in Iraq and KDP would take it in the Kurdistan Region. Both parties are in a bloc in Baghdad having said they were going to the Iraqi capital to prioritize the rights of Kurds over posts in government.
The presidency was given to the Kurds while the Shiites took the prime minister’s office and Sunnis the speaker of parliament under a power-sharing agreement.
Sunday was the deadline for nominations. Parliament will reconvene on October 3 to vote in a president.
Updated at 12:32 p.m.