Kurds secure cabinet positions as Baghdad fills vacant ministries
Two Kurds have been appointed as ministers under Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi as lawmakers voted on the vacant cabinet positions after months of uncertainty.
Fuad Hussein of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is now Iraq’s foreign minister, joining Judge Salar Abdulsatar – of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) – appointed as justice minister on Saturday.
Kurds now hold three of 22 cabinet positions, with Nazanin Mohammed previously voted in as Construction, Housing, Municipalities, and Public Works minister.
“My cabinet is now complete with today’s vote,” Kadhimi tweeted.
“This is vital in implementing our program and delivering on our commitments to our people – who are waiting for actions, not words.”
“We will move forward with optimism and fortitude,” Kadhimi added.
The Iraqi parliament initially approved Kadhimi’s government at an emergency session on May 7, but seven ministries were left vacant as several candidates were rejected by lawmakers.
The other five ministers appointed on Saturday include Ihsan al-Shammari as oil minister, Mohammed Karim Jasim as agriculture minister, Alla Ahmed Hassan, as trade minister, Hassan Nazim as tourism and culture minister and Ivan Fayaq as migration minister.
Who is Fuad Hussein?
Iraq’s former finance minister, Hussein is a seasoned politician and a close confidant to former Kurdistan Region president and KDP leader Masoud Barzani.
Hussein’s appointment is in line with the 2003 sectarian consensus, in which ministries are divided up among Iraq’s three biggest groups – Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds – with some positions reserved for minority groups.
Born in the Kurdish-majority city of Khanaqin in 1946, Hussein moved to the Iraqi capital in 1967, graduating from Baghdad University’s College of Education four years later.
While in Baghdad, Hussein joined the Kurdish Student Union and the KDP.
After the collapse of the Kurdish armed revolution in 1975, he joined the newly-founded PUK then moved to the Netherlands in the same year.
He resigned from the PUK in 1984, becoming an independent political activist and observer of Middle Eastern affairs. In 1987, he became deputy head of the then-fledgling Kurdish Institute in Paris, the first Kurdish cultural institution of its kind in Europe.
Hussein was an active member of the opposition movement against Saddam Hussein, participating in Iraqi opposition conferences from as early as 1991.
In the wake of the Baath regime’s demise in 2003, Hussein returned to Iraq and rejoined the KDP. Shortly after, he was appointed senior advisor at Iraq’s Ministry of Education to play a role in drawing up new curricula for Iraqi schools, before returning to the Kurdistan Region in 2005 to become President Masoud Barzani’s Chief of Staff.
Jwan Jawdat, who worked alongside Hussein for 14 years at the KRG Presidency during Masoud Barzani’s tenure as president, described Hussein as a “very long-sighted”, with a knack for international
“He is very professional and deals with work affairs by the book. He is someone who follows up and pays attention to details,” she added.
Hussein maintained good ties with other parties on the tumultuous Kurdish political scene while chief of staff for the former president, colleagues say.
“He is a real negotiator and always in favour of a peaceful resolution of matters,” a colleague told Rudaw on the condition of anonymity.
Iraq’s new justice minister
A newcomer to the political scene, relatively little is known about Abdulsatar.
Born in 1957 in Kirkuk, Abdulsatar holds a bachelor degree in law and worked as judge at the Al-Rusafa Investigation Court in Baghdad. In 2015, he was promoted to the president of the Federal Appeal Court of Al Rusafa.
In 2018, he became the president of the Shwan Town Court in Kirkuk province, and is also a member of the Iraq’s Public Committee of Judges. Source