ERBIL, Iraq (AA) – Former regional Kurdish prime minister Nechirvan Barzani was inaugurated on Monday as president of northern Iraq's Kurdish region.
His inauguration came after the region's presidency remained vacant since November 2017, when the mandate of then President Masoud Barzani (Nechirvan’s uncle) -- who had been in office since 2005 -- quit following a controversial independence referendum, which caused a crisis between Erbil and Baghdad.
The 52-year-old politician has been one of the main political figures in the Kurdish region.
Born on Sept. 21, 1966 in the region’s Barzan town, Nechirvan moved to Iran with his family in 1975, where he studied at Tehran University’s political science department.
He is the grandson of Mustafa Barzani, leader and founder of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and the son of Idris Barzani, who was a senior leader of the KDP.
He is a fluent speaker of Kurdish, Farsi and English.
In 1989, Nechirvan became a member of the KDP’s political bureau.
He participated in the negotiations with the Iraqi government following the 1991 Gulf War.
After the Kurdish region won autonomy in 1991, he was appointed as a deputy prime minister in 1996, and prime minister in 1999.
In 2006, he was appointed head of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and remained in his position until 2009.
The following year, he was named a deputy chairman of the KDP.
In 2012, Nechirvan was reappointed to a second term as KRG prime minister.
On 28 May 2019, Nechirvan was elected president of the Kurdish region by 68 votes out of 81 attending MPs.