Kurdish politician Barham Salih denies withdrawal from presidential race

Barham Salih

Baghdad ( – Kurdish politician Barham Salih denied on Tuesday that he would pull out of the presidential race, an announcement which comes a few hours before the Iraqi parliament is set to elect a new president for the country.

In a statement, received by the Iraqi Baghdad Today website on Tuesday, Salih’s media office termed reports published by some Kurdish media outlets about the withdrawal of Salih from the presidential election as “groundless.”

It further urged media outlets to seek accuracy before publishing any news about Salih.

Iraqi lawmakers are scheduled to elect on Tuesday a new Iraqi president as they failed to do so yesterday because dominant Kurdish parties — the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — were unable to overcome their differences and agree on a candidate.

Parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi said on Monday the vote would by delayed until Tuesday due to a lack of quorum.

Based on a political agreement adopted since the ouster of late leader Saddam Hussein, Kurds assume Iraq’s presidency, Sunnis are entitled to parliament speaker, and Shias hold the prime minister’s office.

Iraq parliament elections, the first since the defeat of Islamic State militants, were held last May amid judicial challenges that prompted a recount of votes.

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