Iraqi Parliament Elects Abdul Latif Rashid As New President

On Thursday, Iraqi lawmakers elected Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid as the country's new president, reportedly garnering more than 160 votes against 99 for the incumbent Barham Salih in a run-off.

Iraqi Parliament Elects Abdul Latif Rashid As New President
Image credit: Iraqi Parliament Media Office/Handout [via Reuters]

Facts

  • On Thursday, Iraqi lawmakers elected Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid as the country's new president, reportedly garnering more than 160 votes against 99 for the incumbent Barham Salih in a run-off.
  • This comes after three failed attempts to elect a new president – which must be a Kurd according to Iraq's power-sharing political system– earlier this year as the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan couldn't agree on a joint candidate.
  • After being formally elected, Pres. Rashid offered a mandate to Iran-aligned Coordination Framework's Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to form a government and replace caretaker PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
  • Al-Sudani has served as minister in two separate cabinets since joining politics in 2003 and was chosen as the Coordination Framework candidate for the Premiership after the mass resignation of the Sadrist movement MPs.
  • Mass protests erupted when al-Sudani was first proposed as a candidate during Iraq's yearlong political deadlock, with followers of Moqtada al-Sadr breaching Baghdad's Green Zone and storming the parliament.
  • As lawmakers gathered Thursday to vote, nine Katyusha rockets hit the Green Zone and other parts of Baghdad. PM Kadhimi and Sadr's aide Hassan al-Adhari condemned the attacks, which reportedly saw at least three people injured and damaged buildings and vehicles.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Alarabiya, Middle East Eye, Shafaq, Daily Sabah, and New York Times.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Press TV. The election of Rashid and his immediate designation of al-Sudani to form a government marks the end of the long-lasting political deadlock in Iraq, which was caused by the Sadrist movement's undemocratic actions. There's still a long way to go, but Iraq is now on the right path to solving its problems.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Al Jazeera. This election might resolve Iraq's political deadlock, but it likely won't be the solution needed to move away from Iraq's defunct political system. Evidence of this is seen in Rashid's first move as president with the immediate appointment of al-Sudani, which will only cause more unrest, and will do little to move away from Iraq's ethno-sectarian power-sharing system.