News ID: 232223
Published: 0312 GMT October 03, 2018

Rouhani congratulates new Iraqi counterpart on election

Rouhani congratulates new Iraqi counterpart on election

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday congratulated the new Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih for his election as the Arab country’s president.

Rouhani expressed hope that bilateral relations between Iran and Iraq would further develop in all fields of mutual interest during his tenure, the president’s official website reported.

Iraq’s Parliament on Tuesday elected as president Kurdish politician Barham Salih, who immediately named Shia Adel Abdul Mahdi Prime Minister-designate, ending months of deadlock after an inconclusive national election in May.

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

Under Iraq’s Constitution, Salih - a 58-year-old, British-educated engineer who has held office in both the Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional governments – had 15 days to invite the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc to form a government.

Since Saddam Hussein was toppled in a 2003 US-led invasion, power has been shared among Iraq’s three largest ethnic-sectarian components.

The most powerful post, that of prime minister, has traditionally been held by a Shia Arab, the speaker of parliament by a Sunni Arab and the presidency by a Kurd.

A former vice president, oil minister and finance minister, Abdul Mahdi now has 30 days to form a cabinet and present it to parliament for approval.

He faces the daunting tasks of rebuilding much of the country after four years of war with Daesh terrorist group.

Abdul Mahdi, 76, is a trained economist who left Iraq in 1969 for exile in France, where he worked for think-tanks and edited magazines in French and Arabic. He is the son of a respected Shia cleric who was a minister in the era of Iraq’s monarchy, overthrown in 1958.



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