Dr. Barham Salih

Dr. Barham Ahmed Salih Qassim is the ninth President of the Republic of Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament elected him as the President of Iraq on October 2, 2018 with an overwhelming majority.

The President was born on September 8, 1960. He earned his Doctor of Engineering in Statistics and Computer Applications from the University of Liverpool in 1987, and his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Construction from the University of Cardiff in 1983.

His Excellency has assumed several high-ranking positions in the Iraqi federal government. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs, and the head of the economic committee from 2005 – 2009. In 2005, he served as the Minister of Planning in the Iraqi transitional government, and in 2004 as Deputy Prime Minister in Iraq’s interim government.

H.E. Dr. Salih was tasked by the Kurdish leadership to head the Kurdistani electoral slate and, was designated to form the sixth Kurdish government. Hence, he served as the Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdish Region from 2009 – 2011. He was also the Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government in Sulaymaniyah from 2001-2004.

President Salih is fluent in Arabic, Kurdish, and English languages.

His Excellency is interested in the cultural and academic fields. He founded the American University of Iraq – Sulaymaniyah. He is an ardent supporter of civil society and, non- governmental organizations.

Dr. Salih was politically active. During Saddam’s reign, he was arrested by the Special Investigative Committee in 1979 in Kirkuk. Later, he was arrested again at the Military Intelligence HQ in Sulaymaniyah. He was active in the opposition to the dictatorial regime and, participated in several conferences and conventions.

His Excellency joined the ranks of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in 1976. In 2018 he founded the Alliance for Democracy and Justice. Later, it was agreed that he would resume his political activity with the PUK.

The President is married to Dr. Sarbagh Salih. The First Lady is a botanist and women's rights activist. Together they have a son and a daughter.

Source: Office of the President of Iraq, September 2019.