News ID: 232199
Published: 0627 GMT October 02, 2018

Iraq lawmakers move presidential vote to second round

Iraq lawmakers move presidential vote to second round

A parliamentary vote for a new Iraqi president has gone to a runoff after no candidate received a two-third majority.

Lawmakers met on Tuesday to elect a new president after a dispute between the two main Kurdish parties delayed the vote on Monday. The two largest Kurdish parties each put forward a candidate for lawmakers to choose.  

Barham Salih of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was leading his main rival Fuad Hussein of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Salih received 165 votes to Hussein's 90. Independent candidate Srwa Abdulwahid won 18 votes, Presstv Reported.

The new president must be elected with two-thirds of the vote in parliament, which is 220 votes. If no one candidate meets this threshold, a runoff vote will be held.

The presidency has been reserved for the Kurds since Iraq's first multi-party elections in 2005, held two years after the US-led invasion.

Under an unofficial agreement dating back to the 2003, Iraq's presidency, a largely ceremonial role, is held by a Kurd, while the prime minister is Shia Muslim and the parliament speaker is Sunni.

Iraq held elections in May. Lawmakers must next elect a new president and task the leader of the largest bloc to form a government as prime minister.

The country’s main political alliances led by Muqtada Sadr’s Sairoon bloc and the Fatah Alliance led by commander Hadi al-Amiri are expected to cooperate to form a new government.

Incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has also announced that he is not seeking to serve a second term in office.

Millions of Iraqis voted on May 12 in their first parliamentary election since the defeat of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, but a contentious recount process delayed the announcement of final results until last month.

The Iraqi politics has long been vulnerable to the differences lying along the country’s major ethnic and sectarian fault lines.

Any new government has to move quickly to address the country’s chronic woes, including the poor quality of basic services as well as political and economic mismanagement. It would also have to face the mammoth task of rebuilding the country following three years of struggle against Daesh.



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