Newly elected Iraqi President Barham Salih delivers a speech in the Baghdad parliament, October 2, 2018. Photo: Iraqi parliament / HO / AFP
Salih tasks Adil Abdul-Mahdi with forming government
Barham Salih has tasked Adil Abdul-Mahdi with forming the next Iraqi government, state TV reported.
Abdul-Mahdi is a well-known Shiite politician and former oil minister. Ahead of Tuesday's vote, his name had been floated as a possible candidate for the prime minister of Iraq.
From left to right: President Barham Salih, Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, Prime Minister-designate Adil Abdul Mahdi. Photo: Mohammed al-Halbousi
The final vote count was 219 for Barham Salih and 22 for Fuad Hussein.
Barham Salih elected president of Iraq
Barham Salih has been elected president of Iraq, winning in the second round of voting.
The KDP withdrew Fuad Hussein’s candidacy after the first round when the PUK’s candidate Salih garnered a healthy lead. Though Salih did not obtain the two-thirds of votes needed for an outright win in the first round, his substantial lead indicated he could handily win in the second round when a simple majority is required.
Parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi refused to accept the KDP’s decision because the withdrawal did not come from Hussein himself.
The KDP then withdrew from the chamber.
For the second round of voting, Halbousi handed control of the legislature over to his first deputy. Halbousi himself met with Salih and requested the head of Iraq’s federal court attend parliament to swear in the new president.
Vote goes to a second round
The current tally stands at Barham Salih 165 and Fuad Hussein 89. The vote for Iraq's president will go to a second round.
Masoud Barzani rejects vote process
Masoud Barzani, head of the KDP, issued a statement rejecting the vote process in the Iraqi parliament.
The election "is against the norms" established previously, he said.
The president should be elected from the largest Kurdish bloc in the parliament or decided by the Kurdish factions, he said.
"The current method is never acceptable and in the near future we will declare our position," he concluded.
Iraq's parliament is now in session with quorum met.
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi said there has been a political understanding on the presidency matter and that the parliament will convene at 4:30 p.m. to elect the president.
The KDP and PUK met on Tuesday, but failed to reach a deal over the presidency.
Gorran not bound to supporting any candidate
The Change Movement (Gorran) explained their party leadership has given its members liberty to do what they want when choosing a presidential candidate, their MPs in Baghdad said.
"We reject party, family agendas in dealing with this position [the presidency] with a partisan mindset, far from the national mindset,” said Hoshyar Abdullah, speaking on behalf of the Gorran bloc.
Gorran's parliamentary bloc came to Baghdad to be sworn in on Tuesday because they did not do so when most other MPs did so in early September.
They denied claims of already having decided to throw support behind a certain party's candidate.
They indicated they are very "distant" from political settlements, and complained about the PUK and KDP's repeated attempts to bring Gorran into a united Kurdistani bloc.
Gorran has been an opposition party in the Kurdistan Region following disputes with the Kurdistan Democratic Party over the speakership of the parliament in Erbil.
In Baghdad, they went from 9 seats in the 2014 to 5 seats in 2018. Gorran alleged voter fraud by the KDP and PUK, joining four opposition parties in calling for a full recount of the May 12th Iraqi parliamentary vote.
A partial manual recount by Iraq's electoral body led to no significant changes in seat counts among Kurdistani and major Iraqi parties.
New Generation won’t support KDP or PUK candidates
The New Generation which won four seats in the election said it will not support the KDP or PUK's candidates for the presidency.
"Most of the political parties in Kurdistan and Iraq had promised the Iraqi people they will stand against dividing the important posts on sectarian, party or ethnic lines. Unfortunately, we have returned to square one, and the posts are divided based on the same bad lines, leading to making a rich Iraq poor and destroyed,” New Generation stated.
The party formed in January 2018 did not name an alternative.
“A candidate we support has to be a patriotic candidate, to view Iraq's people with the same lens, a clean background and courageous…” the statement continued.
Parliament session delayed 'til 8 p.m.
Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi announced the session to vote in a new Iraqi president is delayed until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Council of Representatives, Iraq's legislative body, failed to meet a quorum in morning and afternoon attempts.
Parliament to meet at 1 p.m.
Bashir Haddad, the second deputy speaker of the parliament, said parliament will start at 1 p.m.
He predicted "no development in talks between KDP and PUK on the matter of electing a single candidate for the president of Iraq."
Haddad expects another failure to meet a quorum.
If the process continues to be delayed "we will face constitutional problems,” he hinted.
Parliament to meet at 11 a.m.
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The Iraqi parliament is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to work on voting in a new president, as parties from the Kurdistan Region hurriedly work to broker a deal to secure the post.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is backing Fuad Hussein, while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has thrown support behind Barham Salih.
The KDP won 25 seats in the parliamentary election and the PUK took 18.
Hussein was part of a delegation on Monday in Baghdad headed by KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, who is the KDP's deputy. They met with Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a former oil minister in Iraq.
Former Iraqi Oil Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi (center-right) meets with KDP deputy Nechirvan Barzani (center-left) and a delegation that includes presidential candidate Fuad Hussein in Baghdad on September 2, 2018. Video: Rudaw TV
Abdul-Mahdi, a well-known Shiite politician, is a possible candidate for the prime minister of Iraq.
A delegation headed by Barzani met with Ammar al-Hakim, who heads the Hikma Movement, and former PM Nouri al-Maliki on Monday — both are Shiite.
A session of parliament scheduled for Monday night to discuss to presidency failed to achieve a quorum.
Although they are reticent about picking a side, Iraqi leaders have been urging the Kurds to unite around a single Kurdish candidate.
KDP President Masoud Barzani and PUK politburo member Hero Ibrahim Ahmed each have issued statements saying they should have one nominee.
The KDP and PUK delegations will not meet in Baghdad, a source said, because both sides will continue their efforts to rally support for their own candidates.
The post of the presidency has traditionally gone to a Kurd. They risk losing to post if divided or if they cannot garner support from large Shiite-party blocs.