The Iraqi parliament elected Latif Rashid as its new speaker on Thursday. He defeated the current president, Barham Salih. With Rashid’s appointment, Iraq hopes to end the country’s nearly year-long political impasse.
78-year-old Rashid is originally an engineer. He studied at the University of Manchester. From 2003 to 2010 he was the Minister of Water in Iraq. Rashid is of Kurdish origin and a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. This makes him a party member of the last three presidents of Iraq, including Saleh.
A two-thirds majority in parliament is required to appoint the president. Rashid only got it in the second round of voting. At the beginning of this year, the Iraqi parliament has already tried three times to elect a new president. But then very few members of Parliament showed up for the correct vote.
Rashid Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani was appointed prime minister immediately upon his election. Thus, Al-Sudani will be assigned the task of forming a new government.
Iraq has been going through a political crisis since the parliamentary elections last year. There, Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr became the biggest with his party. He failed to form a government, because no one wanted to cooperate with him. In August, al-Sadr said he would retire from politics. This led to violent riots among his followers in Baghdad.
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