Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi

Haider Al-Abadi

Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi has a reputation as a political moderate, a skilled conciliator and an expert on economic development.

Educated at the University of Baghdad, with a doctorate from the University of Manchester in Britain, Mr. al-Abadi lived in exile in London while Saddam Hussein’s regime ruled Iraq. The Baathist government had executed two of Mr. Al-Abadi’s brothers and imprisoned a third.

Trained as an electric consultant engineer, Mr. al-Abadi worked for private companies in Britain, serving as director-general of a high-tech transportation design and development firm in London from 1993 through 2002.

Following the overthrow of Saddam’s regime, Mr. al-Abadi returned to Iraq in 2003 to help build the new democracy and revive the economy. In recognition of his business acumen and technological know-how, the Iraqi Governing Council selected him as Minister of Communications in September, 2003.

Elected a member of Parliament in 2005 and re-elected in 2010, he served as chairman of Economic, Investment and Reconstruction Committee from 2006-2010 and oversaw the drafting of an important investment law. He became chairman of the Finance Committee in 2011, playing a crucial role in the decisions about the allocation of the 2011-2013 budgets. One of Iraq’s most influential lawmakers, he was elected deputy speaker of Parliament in 2014, then nominated as Prime Minister and confirmed on September 8, 2014.

Identified by the Middle East Economic Digest as a key person to watch in Iraq’s reconstruction, he is a leading member of the Iraq Petroleum Advisory Committee, having participated in the Iraq Petroleum Conferences from 2009 through 2012.

As a senior leader in Iraq’s Dawa Party and a member of the governing State of Law Coalition, al-Abadi has a strong political base. Enjoying good relations with all political blocs, he is an advocate for national reconciliation across religious, regional and ethnic lines.

In an interview with the Huffington Post’s Mehdi Hasan, Mr. al-Abadi declared: “We have to be careful not to become involved in a sectarian war. Shias are not against Sunnis, and Sunnis are not against Shias.”

Because of his broad appeal, Mr. al-Abadi was often mentioned as a potential Prime Minister in 2006 and 2010. During 2005, he served as an advisor to the Prime Minister in the first elected government.

Mr. Abadi is married and has three children.