Iraq's new president Abdul Latif Rashid (R) appointing Shia al-Sudani premier on Oct. 13, 2022

Iraq's new president Abdul Latif Rashid (R) appointing Shia al-Sudani premier on Oct. 13, 2022

Iraq Elects New President And Premier, Ending Stalemate

Thursday, 10/13/2022

Iraq’s parliament Thursday elected Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid as president, who named Mohammed Shia al-Sudani prime minister-designate, ending a year of deadlock.

The presidency, traditionally occupied by a Kurd, is a largely ceremonial position, but the vote for Rashid was a key step toward forming a new government, which politicians have failed to do since the election.

Rashid, 78, was the Iraqi minister of water resources from 2003-2010. The British-educated engineer won against former President Barham Salih, who was running for a second term.

He invited Sudani, the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc known as the Coordination Framework, an alliance of Iran-aligned factions, to form a government. Sudani, 52, previously served as Iraq’s human rights minister as well as minister of labour and social affairs.

Sudani now has 30 days to form a cabinet and present it to parliament for approval.

Thursday's parliament session comes a year after an election in which populist Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was the biggest winner but failed to rally support to form a government.

Sadr withdrew his 73 lawmakers in August and said he would quit politics, prompting the worst violence in Baghdad for years when his loyalists stormed a government palace and fought rival Shi'ite groups, most of them backed by Iran and with armed wings.

Sadr, who has not declared his next move, has a track record of radical action, including fighting U.S. forces, quitting cabinets, and protesting against governments. Many fear protests by his supporters.

Reporting by Reuters

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