MESOP FLASH : PUK nominates Fuad Masum for Iraqi presidency

20.07.2014 – Hoshmand Sadiq – BasNews, Sulaimaniyah – Following the return of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Jalal Talabani to the Kurdistan Region, PUK announced that Fuad Masum is the party’s candidate to the Iraqi presidency.“PUK chooses Masum for the Iraqi presidency post and this is the final decision. Later, we will present our candidate in front of all Kurdish political parties in order to discuss the choice,” a source in the Leadership Council of the PUK told BasNews.

Meanwhile, Arez Abdullah, member of PUK’s leadership council confirmed it to BasNews, that they have made the nomination and will presented to Kurdistan Parliament in near future for discussion and approve their candidate. London-based Sharq Awsat newspaper on Sunday published a report stating that Kurdish Alliance blocs are expected to nominate their own candidate for the Iraqi presidency post and the chance for Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki to run for a third term has become less likely.

Senior Kurdish official leader told the newspaper that the return of Talabani to Kurdistan will not have the impact of choosing any of the Kurdish candidates for the presidency. “Now there is pressure on Kurds to nominate their candidate because today [Sunday] Kurds have to nominate their candidate,” said an official who asked to remain anonymous.

According to the official “PUK avoided nominating Kirkuk Governor and PUK member of Politic Bureau Najmadin Karim, who was supported by Talabani’s wife Hero Ibrahim, once he presented his resume to parliament without obtaining the approval of PUK politic Bureau” said the source.

“PUK Deputy Secretary Barham Salih who was another candidate for Iraqi presidency post was vetoed by Ibrahim, making it easier for other candidates to run for the post,” added the source.

The official also noted that although Senior PUK official Adnan Mufti was close to Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani and had his support to run for president.

Furthermore, Maliki’s third term is looking less likely, according to the Head of Shiite National Alliance Izzet Shabandar.  “Maliki feels like he is no longer supported as a candidate because he gets refuted by the Shiite National Alliance and State of Law Coalition, especially after Iran stopped supporting him and gave the decision to the high Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani and Sistani rejected him and wants a new candidate where he can be supported by Sunni and Kurds as well,’ Added Shabandar. “Iran and Sistani emphasize the unity of Shiite alliance are the priority and they don’t want to favor one party over the other and I believe that former Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi is the best candidate for Iraqi Premier now,” added Shabandar. Fuad Masum is a veteran Kurdish politician and senior member of PUK leadership council and has been member of Iraqi parliament since 2005 and the Head of Kurdish alliance bloc in Iraqi parliament for the last four years.