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Barham Salih: Favorite Candidate for Iraqi Presidency

Barham Salih: Favorite Candidate for Iraqi Presidency

Thursday, 20 September, 2018 - 06:30
Barham Salih, Former Prime Minister of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government with his wife Sarbagh Salih show their ink-stained fingers after casting their votes at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Sulaymaniah. May 2018. Reuters
Baghdad - Sulaymaniah - Asharq Al-Awsat
Iraq’s Shiites and Kurds have been discussing their choice for the premiership and the presidency after Sunnis picked on Saturday Mohammed al-Halbousi to become parliament speaker.

In Iraq, the speaker is a Sunni Arab while the prime minister is Shiite and the president is a Kurd.

Observers expect that Kurds would present more than one candidate for the presidential post next Tuesday, amid speculations that Barham Salih is likely to secure the highest votes, particularly after returning to the ranks of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Reports emerged this week that Bafel and Kibad Talabani, the sons of late Iraqi president and PUK leader Jalal Talabani, made an offer to convince Salih dissolve his Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) party and return to the ranks of the PUK in exchange for nominating him for the presidency.

On Wednesday, PUK leaders held a meeting in Sulaymaniah and selected Salih to take over from current President Fuad Masum.

“Barham is the sole nominee for the post of president,” Sa’adi Berah, the PUK spokesman said on Wednesday. “PUK leaders have voted today on this decision after he (Barham) accepted all the conditions of the PUK.

During the meeting, Salih defeated Latif Rashid and Moahmmed Sabir, winning the internal party election by 26 votes. Sabir won 15 votes while Rashid received only one.

Separately, Fadel Mirani, secretary of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) politburo, announced that his party, headed by Masoud Barzani, the former Kurdistan Region President, would also have a candidate for the presidential post.

However, an informed Iraqi source asserted that the KDP’s candidate would not affect the chances of Salih to win the elections.

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