Salih has named Shia politician Adel Abdul Mahdi as prime minister-designate and has tasked him with forming a new government.

Kurdish politician Barham Salih has been elected as Iraq’s new president.

State television reports that Iraq’s legislators elected Salih as president on Tuesday after a dispute between the two main Kurdish parties delayed the vote, eventually forcing them to choose between 20 nominees.

Shia legislator Hamid al-Moussawi revealed that the session was delayed because the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan were unable to agree on a single candidate.

According to Al Jazeera, Salih won over his main rival, Fuad Hussein, with 219 votes to 22.

Under local law, the new president will have 15 days to task the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc with forming a new government.

Reports suggest that Salih has already named Shia politician Adel Abdul Mahdi as prime minister-designate and has asked him to form a new government.

Abdul Mahdi now has 30 days to form his government and present it to parliament for approval under Iraqi law.

Under an unofficial agreement dating back to the 2003 US-led invasion, Iraq’s presidency is held by a Kurd and is seen as a ceremonial role, while the prime minister is Shia and the parliament speaker is Sunni.

Barham Salih is a former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and a former deputy prime minister of the Iraqi federal government.

Born in 1960 in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah, Salih joined the PUK in 1976 and worked in its foreign relations department in London. He broke away from the PUK last year to form an opposition party but returned to the party this year to become its presidential nominee. He studied at Cardiff University and the University of Liverpool.


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