TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s envoy to Iran shrugged off disagreements between KRG leader Masoud Barzani and the new president of the Arab country, Barham Salih, saying that the two would cooperate with each other.
“Such disagreements are kind of ordinary in politics,” Nazem Dabbagh told Press Shia in an interview, referring to reports about Barzani’s opposition to Salih.
“In the world of politics, sometimes certain things are planned, policies are adopted, or actions are taken to reach some goals, but the result is contrary to what officials and planners expect, such as the introduction of the presidential candidate by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP),” he said.
“Massoud Barzani’s personality is such that when Kurdish interests necessitate adopting a new stance, he will definitely do so and he will cooperate with Barham Salih to solve the Kurdish people’s problems,” the envoy added.
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 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.