Iraq’s parliament on Thursday elected Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid as president, who immediately named Mohammed Shia al-Sudani prime minister-designate, ending a year of deadlock after a national election in October last year.
The presidency, traditionally occupied by a Kurd, is a largely ceremonial position, but the vote for Rashid was a key step toward forming a new government, which politicians have failed to do since the election.
Rashid, 78, British-educated engineer, was the Iraqi minister of water resources from 2003-2010.
He invited Sudani, the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc known as the Coordination Framework, an alliance of Iran-aligned factions, to form a government. Sudani previously served as Iraq’s human rights minister as well as minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
Rashid won against former President Barham Salih, who was running for a second term.
Thursday’s vote, which was the fourth attempt to elect a president this year, took place shortly after nine rockets landed on Thursday around the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, according to a military statement.
Under a power-sharing system designed to avoid sectarian conflict, Iraq’s president is a Kurd, its prime minister a Shia and its parliament speaker a Sunni.