The position of Prime Minister of Iraq was formed on November 11, 1920, when the Kingdom of Iraq, which lasted from that time until 1958, was formed under the British administration as a protectorate of the United Kingdom British. Iraq fell into British hands after World War One with the defeat and subsequent fall of the Ottoman Empire, which previously held the Iraqi region. In 1932, the Kingdom of Iraq became a fully sovereign country, free from being under the administration United Kingdom. The Kingdom of Iraq was then overthrown in the 1958 coup d'état that is called the 14 July Revolution. This led to the establishment of the Republic of Iraq and starts of list of prime ministers under the republic, the Iraqi governing council period following the aftermath of the 2003 United States invasion and overthrow of the government under Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) and the current Republic of Iraq. Since the transition between the transitional government and the first permanent government of the country following the December 2005 general elections, their have only been two prime ministers, Nouri al-Maliki and Haider al-Abadi.
Prime Ministers of Iraq
Abd al-Karim Qasim
Abd al-Karim Qasim (1914-1963) was the first prime minister of the Republic of Iraq. He was an Iraqi nationalist and a brigadier in the Iraqi Army that led the 14th of July Revolution, which overthrew that monarchy of Iraq. He almost immediately seized power following the coup d'état and became prime minister of the country. During his time as prime minister he lifted the ban on the Iraqi Communist Party and spent a lot of time trying to delicately balance between the the right wingers, nationalists, pan-Arabs, Kurds and the communists. Qasim also seized 99% of the land from the British-owned Iraq Petroleum Company and oversaw the redistribution of this land to the poor, middle class and the farmers. He also had the constitution rewritten to farther encourage women participating more in Iraqi society.
Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) was a two-time prime minister of Iraq, and also its president during his long reign as a dictator who ruled Iraq for decades. Saddam rose to power as a member of the Ba'ath Party in the years following the Ramadan Revolution as vice president and strongman to president and prime minister Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr (1914-1982) who had helped lead the revolution. As al-Bakr became weaker and ill in the late 1970s, Saddam took on a more prominent role in the government, culminating in al-Bakr stepping down in July of 1979 and Saddam assuming the presidency. Saddam was president of the country from this point until he was overthrown during the U.S. invasion and prime minister this whole time apart from a brief period from 1991 to 1994. During his time as the leader of the country, Saddam developed a cult of personality around himself that permeated the country.
Nouri al-Maliki was the first prime minister of the new Republic of Iraq following the U.S. invasion, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the shift from the subsequent transitional government to a permanent government. He was sworn in as prime minister in May of 2006. At the beginning of his time as prime minister he worked to crackdown on insurgents, had a contentious relationship with the press and signed the death warrant to execute Saddam Hussein. He also spent almost all of his term trying to balance the demands and concerns of the Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions within Iraq. He also negotiated and oversaw the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country with the 2008 U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. His administration also used oil revenue to spend on energy and agriculture, as well as rebuilding. Towards the end of his time as prime minister the Iraqi Civil War broke out with the rise of ISIS in northwest Iraq. With his government doing poorly in this conflict, along with other issues, President Fuad Masum decided to nominate Haidar al-Abadi to take over the position. However, al-Maliki still held on to power and even referred the matter to the federal court but by August of 2014 he stepped down in the face of national and international pressure.
Appointment and Roles of the Prime Minister of Iraq
The Prime Minister of Iraq is the country's head of government and, under the most recent constitution adopted in 2005, the prime minister is also the prominent executive authority in the country. The prime minister is named by the Presidency Council of Iraq, who are elected by the Council of Representatives, which is the unicameral legislature of the country and elected by the people. By rule the Presidency Council of Iraq must come to an agreement on a candidate for prime minister in two weeks and if they can not then that duty falls to the National Assembly. If that happens then the Council of Representatives must confirm the National Assemblies nomination with an absolute majority. Once a Prime Minister is chosen they have one month to nominate a Council of Ministers and if they can not then the Prime Minister search begins again. The Prime Minister has no term limits and resides in the Republican Palace in the capital, Baghdad.