Who is Iraq’s new president Abdul Latif Rashid?

Born in Sulaymaniyah, Abdul Latif Rashid was elected as president on Thursday by Iraq's parliament.

Who is Iraq’s new president Abdul Latif Rashid?

The Iraqi parliament on Thursday elected Abdul Latif Rashid as the country's new president after securing more votes than incumbent Barham Salih. 

Rashid received 162 votes, while Salih got 99, according to the official Iraqi news agency.

He won in a second round of voting held after the candidates had failed to obtain two-thirds support among lawmakers in the first round.

Electing the president is an essential step in naming a new prime minister and potentially ending a months-long political crisis that gripped Iraq since last year’s general election.

Iraqi political parties have failed to agree on electing a new president and premier since the Oct. 10, 2021 general elections.  

Rashid's career

Born in 1944, in the northeastern Sulaymaniyah region, Rashid is trained in civil engineering at the University of Liverpool, graduating in 1968, completing his engineering doctorate in 1976 at the University of Manchester.

He assumed the portfolio of Water Resources from September 2003 to December 2010, serving as a senior adviser to the president of the Iraqi republic since December 2010.

Rashid, an active member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party, had been an opponent of the Baath Party until the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.

The new president is a veteran Kurdish politician and is considered an accommodating, compromise candidate in a fractured political outlook.

Rashid's candidacy came at a time when pro-Iranian Shia forces have been pushing to form a government.

After his election, Rashid appointed Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani to form a new government. Al-Sudani said he would present his formation as soon as possible.

The new president has appointed a Shia to head the government, as required by the Iraqi Constitution.

Under a political norm since 2006, a Kurd is elected to Iraq's presidency, while a Sunni heads the parliament and a Shia takes the role of prime minister.