Abdul Latif Rashid becomes Iraq’s fourth president

Abdul Latif Rashid has become the fourth president of Iraq, replacing Barham Saleh after a parliamentary vote on Thursday. The electoral victory of Rashid clears the path for a new administration, since a year has passed without one.

From 2003 to 2010, Rashid, 78, an Iraqi water-resources engineer educated in Britain, served as minister.

An assembly official said he won more than 160 votes, against 99 for the incumbent Saleh. The country’s premier, Mustafa al-Kadhemi, who is acting as caretaker, must be replaced, and a new government must be formed, according to Rashid.

Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, 52, a Shiite Muslim bloc the Coordination Framework member emphasizing pro-Iranian former paramilitary groups, was a prime minister contender.

Massive protests broke out in July when Sudani was first proposed, in response to the fiery populist and cleric Moqtada Sadr’s Shiite supporters breaching the Green Zone and storming parliament.

Lawmakers heading into parliament on Thursday encountered a fresh reminder of Iraq’s difficulties, as nine Katyusha-style rockets rained down on the area, according to the security forces.

Ten individuals were wounded, including six bodyguards of lawmakers or security forces, as well as four civilians in a neighbouring district, a security official said.

Alina Romanowski, United States Ambassador, strongly condemned the attack in Iraq on Twitter and urged Iraqi people to settle their political disputes and grievances peacefully.

“Attacks like these undermine democracy & trap Iraq in a perpetual cycle of violence.”

Image Credit: AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, File