Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Iraq's parliament elected Barham Salih as the country's eighth president Thursday by an overwhelming majority.
The Council of Representatives of Iraq voted 219-22 in favor of Salih, who was chosen as the candidate for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Party, over Kurdistan Democratic Party candidate Fuad Hussein, who withdrew from the race.
"I promise to safeguard Iraq's unity and safety," Salih said at his swearing-in ceremony, adding he would become the president of Iraq as a whole not only the president of one component or party.
Salih won the PUK Party's nomination for the presidency, defeating Latif Rashid and Moahmmed Sabir in the party's internal election.
He previously served as prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan and deputy prime minister of the Iraqi federal government.
He left the PUK in September 2017 to form the Coalition for Democracy and Justice to fight corruption and the bloc won two seats in Iraq's May 12 national election.
Salih's nomination follows the Iraqi tradition of electing a Sunni Arab as speaker of parliament, a prime minister from the Shiite majority and a Kurdish president.