ORHAN – Iraq elects its president

Iraq elects its presidentPolitical actors have reached consensus in Iraq, which has been experiencing turmoil due to political instability and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacks.Based on this consensus, Fuad Masum, a joint candidate nominated by the Kurds, has been elected president.

This confirms that the parties have remained adherent to a joint consensus made between the Kurds and Arabs in 2003, at least within the context of presidential election. Under this consensus, the president shall be a Kurd, the prime minister a Shiite and the parliament speaker a Sunni.

The election of the president in Iraq is one of the most important outcomes of the Iraqi elections. The next step would be forming a cabinet.

Masum is 76 years old he first became involved in politics with the Kurdistan Democrat Party (KDP). He is one of the founders of this party.

He speaks some foreign languages. Masum is renowned among Arab intellectuals and politicians he holds a Ph.

D degree from Al-Azhar University.He supported outgoing President Jalal Talabani during the political disagreement between Mustafa Barzani and Talabani in the 1970s since then, he has served as one of the influential leaders of Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

Masum, who also served as president of the parliament in the Arbil government formed in the aftermath of the Gulf War, is married with five daughters. He is prone to reconciliation owing to his lenient and moderate personality, he may contribute to alleviation of the tension between Erbil and Baghdad governments.

In the process of forming the new government, he could be a strong and powerful leader who might bring the parties together Masum will have a difficult time. Compared to the office term of Talabani, the first Kurdish president of Iraq, it could be said that Iraq is going through a difficult period of time.

Masum will serve as president at a time when part of his country is under occupation by ISIL Erbil and Baghdad are experiencing some crucial problems and disagreements and there is widespread belief in the world that the unitary statute of Iraq may no longer be preserved. His job is extremely difficult.

But Masum may still play a historic and crucial role in protecting the unitary structure of Iraq, resolving disagreements between the main constituents in the country and ending the invasion.The KRG government is considering a referendum for independence.

So, he will remain ambivalent between the Kurdish aspirations for independence given that he is a Kurd and loyalty to the unitary statute of Iraq as a president of the country. As a Kurdish Iraqi who represents all of Iraq and as a person who learned a lot from Talabani, Masum is expected to serve as a successful and constructive leader and perform well in his office.

His nomination for presidency was not an easy process. The joint candidates of the Kurds included some other influential names, including Barham Salih.

However, in the end, the KDP and PUK agreed on Masum as their joint candidate.President Abdullah Gul was the first president to congratulate him as the new president of Iraq.

There is no doubt that Masum is a good choice in terms of normalization of bilateral relations between Turkey and Iraq. The Iraqi National Parliament has thus successfully passed an important threshold by electing its president.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman