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PUK nominates Salih as candidate for Iraqi presidency

Barham Salih
Kurdish leader Barham Salih
Iraq’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the ruling Kurdish parties, has nominated Kurdish leader Barham Salih as candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

PUK chose Salih, who left the party last year to form the Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ), as their presidential candidate after winning the internal party election by 26 votes.

On Tuesday, Shiite-led blocs agreed to nominate Adel Abdul Mahdi, the former vice president, for the post of prime minister.

Salih, who was born in Sulaymaniyah in 1960, headed the Kurdistan Regional Government in 2001, and was one of the deputies of the federal government in 2006.

He occupied several ministerial posts in Baghdad and Erbil in the last 15 years.

His newly-created CDJ performed poorly in the previous May 12 parliamentary election as it only secured two seats out of total 329 seats of the Iraqi Parliament.

It is crucial for the presidential candidate to gain the support of Shiite and Sunni parliamentary blocs to win the post, as it requires two thirds of the votes of the 329 members of parliament.

In recent remarks, Salih said the Kurdistan Region needs to “re-organize itself” to be able to deal with the threats facing the region, as well as benefit from the significant opportunities when they present themselves.

According to Iraq’s constitution, a new president must be elected no more than 15 days after the speaker is installed. The president then instructs the largest bloc in the parliament to form the government.

The Iraqi Parliament is receiving nominations for the post of president ahead of its next scheduled session on Sept. 25.