Veteran Kurdish politician Barham Salih was officially inaugurated as Iraq’s president on Wednesday, replacing his predecessor Fuad Masum.
“This experience of peaceful transfer of power in such a transparent democratic way is an important step in consolidating the traditions of democracy,” Salih said in an official ceremony held for his inauguration.
Salih was elected to the largely ceremonial post by Iraqi parliament on Tuesday.
For his part, Masum wished the new president “success in serving Iraq and all Iraqis with a view to strengthening the democratic path of the country.”
Under an unofficial agreement, Iraq’s presidency is held by a Kurd, the prime minister is Shia and the parliament speaker Sunni.
Salih had previously served as the prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) between 2009 till 2011. He was also the deputy prime minister of Iraq under Ayad Allawi, who became prime minister after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Salih was born in 1960 in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq. He graduated from Cardiff University’s Architecture Department in 1983. He also got a master’s degree in engineering from Liverpool University.
He founded Sulaymaniyah American University and still is chairman of the board of trustees. He was also the PUK representative in England in the 80s.