Newly elected President of Iraq Barham Salih watches as his predecessor Fuad Masum leaves during a handing-over ceremony in Baghdad on Wednesday. Photo: Sabah Arar/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The KDP will closely watch what steps are taken as the next Iraqi cabinet is formed, reiterating its opposition to the way in which Barham Salih was elected president.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) politburo held a meeting on Wednesday, chaired by the party’s president, Masoud Barzani.
They reiterated the party stance that the presidency of Iraq is a post that belongs to the Kurdistani nation and not a single political party.
“This position has always been settled within the framework of agreement and negotiations between Kurdistani parties. What the PUK did this time upset this principle of agreement. And this is a bad start for settling the question of the position of the president of the republic,” read a statement issued after the meeting.
The three top posts in Baghdad have been divvied in a power-sharing deal that sees a Kurdish president, a Shiite prime minister, and a Sunni speaker of parliament.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has traditionally held the Iraqi presidency since 2005 in an agreement between the PUK and KDP. This time around, the KDP argued that deal was null and void after the death of PUK leader Jalal Talabani and the suspension of the presidency of the Kurdistan Region.
Officials from both parties called for the Kurds to unite and put forward a single candidate for the position, but they each ended up fielding their own after the KDP said the PUK made a unilateral decision to nominate Barham Salih.
Salih easily beat out the KDP’s nominee Fuad Hussein in a secret vote by the Iraqi parliament Tuesday night.
The end result is that “other people” made a decision on the Kurdish entitlement, “not representatives of the Kurdistani nation,” said the KDP politburo.
“The KDP has paid serious attention to steps taken to form the new Iraqi government and taken part in exchanging ideas on this matter,” the statement read.
“We will closely monitor the steps that will be taken to form the new cabinet and make the necessary decisions in due time.”
Salih’s first act as president was to task Adil Abdul-Mahdi with forming a cabinet.