Iraq's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said yesterday it had nominated current premier Nechirvan Barzani to succeed his uncle Masoud Barzani as president of Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). Masoud Barzani's son Masrour, the regional government's security chief, was also nominated to be a prime minister, party spokesman Mahmoud Mohammed told a press conference in Erbil. With 45 of 111 seats, the KDP is the biggest party in the Kurdish assembly after September's regional election but 11 shy of an outright majority, and will have to govern in coalition.
Masoud Barzani, still the KDP leader, stepped down after 12 years as regional president in November 2017, less than a month after helming a referendum on Kurdish independence that backfired and triggered a crisis for Iraq's Kurds. The post has remained vacant ever since, and the president's powers were divided between the prime minister, parliament and the judiciary in a makeshift arrangement.
Relations with the previous Iraqi administration of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi were strained by the referendum. But with a new Iraqi government in place, led by Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Erbil and Baghdad have in recent weeks signaled a willingness to work together.