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Iraqi Kurdish Parliament Nominates Prime Minister

Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih is set to head the next Kurdish government.
IRBIL, Iraq -- The Kurdish region's parliament has nominated former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih to form a new regional government, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reports.

Kurdish parliament speaker Kamal Karkuki told journalists after the parliament vote on September 17 that once the nomination is endorsed by regional President Masud Barzani, Salih is expected to form a new government within a month.

Salih is a leading member of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the regional parliament also voted Azad Perwari, a leading member of Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party, to be Salih's deputy.

Opposition Change bloc member Shahu Said told RFE/RL that his bloc's 25 members in the 111-seat Kurdish parliament "voted against the nomination as it signifies the Kurdish region's continued division between the two big parties."

Said reiterated that the Change faction will not join a coalition government dominated by the two parties if offered to do so, and will strive to break their hold by being an active opposition.

Omar Abd al-Aziz of the Reform and Services bloc, which has 18 seats in parliament, told RFE/RL that his faction "has nothing personal against Salih or Perwari but nominating both the prime minister and his mate in one go is a weird way."

Abd al-Aziz explained that neither the parliament's statutes nor standard procedures provide for this way of forming a government.

The two major parties have 59 seats between them, won under the "Kurdistan List" in the regional elections on July 25.