Kurdistan Region swears in Nechirvan Barzani as new president

Nechirvan Barzani delivers first speech as IKR President

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani delivers his first speech after taking the presidential oath on June 10, 2019, at Saad Abdulllah Palace Conference Centre, in Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Photo: Rudaw video

Nechirvan Barzani thanked his predecessor, Masoud Barzani, for his leadership of the Kurdish nation since he was 16 years old. Nechirvan Barzani will now be the official commander-in-chief of all the Kurdistan Region’s security forces. He will also be the de facto head of state.
“In future stages, we will make every effort to organize, strengthen Peshmerga forces as a part of Iraqi defense system,” he said.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) relations with Baghdad deteriorated after the events of October 2017, but have improved particularly since Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi came to power last year. But to continue improving, Barzani underscored, relations and work across local parties need to be more coordinated.

“In the political culture and media convention in the Kurdistan Region, we often stress on our rivalries and disagreements more than necessary. Let’s have harmony with each other from now on…” however Barzani said, “It is okay for rivalries and differences of opinion to remain.”

Barzani spoke of a “new joint roadmap” for relations between Baghdad and Erbil.

“We had hope in the constitution, but it was unfortunately not implemented as it is to build the new Iraq all Iraqi nations dreamt of,” he said.

The salaries and pensions of civil servants, pensions, budgets, and the Kurdistan Region’s independent oil of exports have been impediments for previous governments.

“We should work together with the federal government in Baghdad to find shared solutions within the framework of the constitution of federal Iraq,” he said.

The issue of the implementation of Article 140 for the disputed areas like Kirkuk and Shingal has been exasperated as Islamic State (ISIS) extremists remain active in security vacuums between Iraqi and Peshmerga forces.

“Through mutual understanding and joint work, we can once again revive our constitution, respect and implement it without discrimination so that ISIS is not created again, and the disasters that happened in Shingal, Iraq and the Kurdistan Region do not repeat,” he said, referring to the genocide of the Yezidis and others in Kurdistan’s history.

Let’s together “take constructive steps to agree on a joint roadmap for the country and governance without discriminating between nations, religions, sects and areas,” he implored.

The political apparatus in the Kurdistan Region is often critiqued for being slow to respond to challenges.

“Swift changes in the Region need a shared vision,” he said.

Nechirvan Barzani recalled the presidential system stems from calls during the Koya uprisings.

He also emphasized that the world owes the Peshmerga and the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition and Iraqi forces a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices.

Following his speech, the speaker of the Kurdistan Region parliament Vala Farid said this session at parliament would continue at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The Kurdistan Democratic Party has nominated Masrour Barzani as its candidate for the premiership. He currently serves as the head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC).

1:25 p.m.

Abadi encourages Nechirvan Barzani to serve all Iraqis

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who hasn’t been to Erbil on an official visit since campaigning for his re-election last spring, congratulated Nechirvan Barzani.

“I congratulate Mr. Nechirvan Barzani for his new position. I would like to take the opportunity to reiterate the values of co-existence and peace between all the ethnicities, religions and sects of Iraq,” Abadi tweeted after Barzani’s inaguration. 

He also insisted that Iraqi nationalism should be bolstered under Nechirvan Barzani’s term.

“I also stress … the necessity of making use of [his new responsibilities] to bolster Iraq’s unity, sovereignty, and a fair distribution of its wealth. Iraq is for Iraqis, and they have the duty to be loyal to it,” Abadi said.

Abadi ordered the deadly federal takeover of all disputed areas in October 2017 by federal forces which had previously been under Peshmerga control. Relations with Baghdad have improved with his successor Adil Abdul-Mahdi. 


1:20 p.m.

Iraqi NSA Alfayyadh wishes Nechirvan Barzani the best

Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih Alfayyadh repeatedly congratulated Nechirvan Barzani, reminding him that the Barzani family is full of leaders.

He emphasized that the people of Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, are looking to leaders for unity to serve them. 

Alfayyadh vowed to do all he could in Baghdad that cooperates with the KRG. He wished prosperity and success for the Kurdistan Region moving forward.

He added that the liberated cities await for reconstruction and return to life, as do internally displaced Iraqis.

1:04 p.m.

Hakim touches on historical relations

Ammar al-Hakim emphasized the historical struggle and leadership that the Barzani family had during the previous regime.

He acknowledged the sacrifices that Kurds have given for the sake of Iraq, arguing that the relationship between the governments in Erbil and Baghdad are larger than any personalities or political parties.

Hakim said prosperity can be achieved in the Kurdistan Region if the Iraqi parliament and the Kurdistan Region works together, similarly to that in southern Iraq. He also emphasized the importance of the real Iraqi image and its diversity.

Ammar al-Hakim is an influential Shiite cleric and leader of the Hikma (Wisdom Movement). He called Nechirvan Barzani his brother a well-known smart person throughout Iraqi cities.

He blamed the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) on political disputes and the lack of unity between leaders. 

12:56 p.m.

Halbousi encourages democracy, reform

Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi encouraged all the components of Iraq to embrace democracy and form.

He congratulated Nechirvan Barzani on becoming president of the Kurdistan Region and said he looked forward to both working together to zeroing all problems.

Calling, Kurds his “brothers,” Halbousi was optimistic.

Salih encourages practical steps between Erbil, Baghdad

Iraqi President Barham Salih, a Kurd from Sulaimani, acknowledged the positive accomplishments which can be achieved when Baghdad and Erbil cooperate like they did through the conflict with the Islamic State (ISIS).

Salih said he expects KDP President Masoud Barzani to continue to have a leadership voice as he has for the past 50 years.

He emphasized the need for an agenda and practical steps to be taken between the KRG and Iraqi government.

Masoud Barzani congratulates new president

Former Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani congratulated Nechirvan Barzani on his new post as president.

Masoud Barzani called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi federal government in Baghdad to take steps to resolve outstanding problems especially in the disputed territories like Kirkuk.

He also encouraged political parties in the Kurdistan Region to resolve internal problems.

Barzani takes presidential oath

Nechirvan Idris Barzani was sworn in around 12:30 p.m. as the new president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region after formalities by parliament’s leadership.

12:19 p.m.

Kurdistan Region swears in Nechirvan Barzani as new president

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Foreign and local dignitaries have gathered in Erbil on Sunday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Nechirvan Barzani as president of the Kurdistan Region. 

Diplomats from the foreign ministries of neighboring Turkey like Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Iran are attending among representatives from embassies, consulates, and other missions. Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi is also attending to represent the federal government in Baghdad.
Nechirvan Barzani has served as Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) prime minister in the current government. It held elections in September 2018, but government formation has been slow due to partisanship and disagreements over posts.

The office of the presidency was suspended in November 2017, when Masoud Barzani, Nechirvan’s uncle, stepped down as president. Masoud Barzani is head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) — the largest in the Kurdistan Region.

The KDP has nominated Masrour Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), to be the next prime minister. His nomination must first pass parliament.

Iraqi President Barham Salih, a politburo member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), is also attending. The PUK is the second-largest in the Kurdistan Region.

Since the establishment of the new Iraq from 2003-2005, the KDP has held the post of the Kurdistan Region presidency, while the PUK has taken the Iraqi presidency.

Nechirvan Barzani secured 68 votes of the 81 MPs present in the parliamentary session on May 28, despite the PUK bloc boycotting the session. However, the PUK announced on Sunday that they would attend the swearing-in ceremony. 

The president of the Kurdistan Region wields tremendous power, serving as the de facto head of state and commander-in-chief of all security forces.

Rudaw News