UPDATES WITH SALIH'S REMARKS AND PROFILE
By Haydar Karaalp
BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraq's parliament elected Barham Salih as the new president on Tuesday evening following a second round of voting.
Salih, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), received 219 votes from 272 parliament members winning a clear majority.
Seven candidates, including a woman, were vying for the position. They included Sardar Abdullah, Sarwa Abdul-Wahed, Abdullatif Rashid, Omar Barzanji, Fuad Hussein and Abdulkarem Abtan al-Joubori.
Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) candidate Fuad Hussein dropped out of the race, according to a statement from his party.
At his oath-taking ceremony, Salih said: “I will preserve Iraq’s unity. I will be the president of all of Iraq, not just a particular group."
Under an unofficial agreement, Iraq's presidency — largely a ceremonial role — is held by a Kurd, the prime minister is Shia and the parliament speaker Sunni.
Salih served as the prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) between 2009 till 2011. He was also the deputy prime minister of Iraq under Ayad Allawi, who became prime minister after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
He has given the task to form the government to independent Shia candidate Adil Abdul-Mahdi.
Salih was born in 1960 in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq.
He graduated from Cardiff University’s Architecture Department in 1983. He also got a master’s degree in engineering from Liverpool University.
He founded Sulaymaniyah American University and still is chairman of the board of trustees.
He was also the PUK representative in England in the 80s.