Kurdish politician named UK’s Chancellor might be next PM
photo: Victoria Jones/PA
Just a year ago, Zahawi occupied junior positions within the UK government and was never imagined to have a seat in the cabinet.
A dark day for the Johnson cabinet was greeted with joy in the Kurdistan region and among the Kurds worldwide after a Kurdish politician was appointed to the third most powerful position within the Kingdom after the PM and his deputies.
In November 2020, Zahawi was called to oversee the UK's rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. Tory MPs widely admired him for his calm media appearances at the height of the global pandemic.
The chancellor was born to Kurdish parents in Baghdad, and at 11, his family fled Saddam Hussein's rule in 1978. His teachers warned Zahawi's parents that he might suffer from learning difficulties after he initially struggled to speak English.
He joined the British government as a junior minister in the Department for Education under Theresa May. Following a cabinet reshuffle in September 2021, he was promoted to Johnson's education secretary.
Johnson and Zahawi maintain close ties, and the PM turned to him when a total of 28 senior cabinet officials resigned in protest of Johnson. The powerful blow might seal the fate of Johnson's cabinet but might be an omen to the rapidly rising Kurdish politician star.
Zahawi is now closer than ever to the helm of the British government. "One Tory party insider close to him said that he was likely to run for the top job. Nadhim will not move against Boris, he's totally loyal. But if he goes, I have no doubt he will stand," the financial times reported.
The UK is home to a substantial, although widely dispersed and unconnected Kurdish diaspora. The Kingdom has maintained close relations with the Kurdistan region of Iraq since the early 20th century. A Kurdish politician in charge of the UK's low and high politics is an opportunity for the Kurdistan region not to miss, even though the UK is constitutionalized and power is limited.