TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iraq's new president has tasked veteran politician Adel Abdul-Mahdi with forming a new government nearly five months after national elections were held.
Abdul-Mahdi is an independent who previously served as vice president, oil minister and finance minister.
He was tasked with forming a new government by Barham Salih, a Kurdish politician who was elected to the largely ceremonial role of president in a parliamentary vote Tuesday, AP reported.
The prime minister-designate will have 30 days to submit his cabinet to parliament. Iraq held elections May 12.
Salih, of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, won 220 votes out of the 273 lawmakers who attended Tuesday's session. He was among 20 candidates for the post, including one from the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party. The two parties have dominated Kurdish politics for decades.
Shiite lawmaker Hamid al-Moussawi said the lawmakers were supposed to vote Monday, but delayed the session for nearly 24 hours after the KDP and the PUK were unable to agree on a candidate. The parliament speaker eventually decided to hold a vote among all 20 nominees.
The KDP's nominee was Fuad Hussein, who served as chief of staff for the former Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani.
Born in 1960 in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah, Salih joined the PUK in 1976 and later worked in its foreign relations department in London. He studied at Cardiff University and the University of Liverpool.
He held various posts in the Iraqi government after the US-led invasion on Iraq in 2003, including planning minister and deputy prime minister, and from 2009 to 2011 he served as prime minister of the Kurdish region.
Last year, he broke away from PUK following the death of the party's founder, Jalal Talabani, a former Iraqi president. Salih formed an opposition party, but returned to the PUK to be its nominee for president.