Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has been involved in the political affairs of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for over 25 years. He is the grandson of Mustafa Barzani, the legendary Kurdish leader and founder of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Born in 1966 in the mountain village of Barzan, he often accompanied his father - senior KDP member Idris Barzani - on his missions abroad in the cause of the people of the Kurdistan Region. He served as Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region from 1999 to 2009. He was again appointed as Prime Minister on 5 April 2012.
In 1975 Mr Barzani and his family, along with tens of thousands of Kurds from Iraq, were forced to flee to safety from the regime of Saddam Hussein. While in Iran, he studied political science at Tehran University but left his studies due to the untimely death of his father at a critical time in Kurdistan's struggle. Following the example of leadership set by his father, he became actively involved in political affairs and rose rapidly through the ranks of the KDP.
Mr Barzani was first elected to the leadership of the KDP at its 10th Congress in 1989 and re-elected at its latest 12th Congress in 1999. In 1996 he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, which had been established following free and fair regional elections in 1992.
When he became Prime Minister in 1999, Mr Barzani embarked on a vigorous program to improve the well-being of the people of the Region. In March 2006 he was elected the first Prime Minister of the unified Government of the Kurdistan Region and spearheaded a groundbreaking agenda, serving until 2009. He was reappointed as Prime Minister on 5 April 2012.
Under his leadership, the KRG has become a secular, pluralistic, democratic government. His vision of a free and prosperous Kurdistan, at peace with itself and its neighbors, is becoming a reality for the nearly 6 million Kurds in Iraq. The KRG has undertaken large-scale development and public services programs that will better the lives of the people of the Region, while at the same time liberalizing both the political and economic systems of Kurdistan, leading to unprecedented improvements throughout the Region.
Mr Barzani is married with three sons and two daughters. He is fluent in Kurdish, Persian, and English, and has a working knowledge of Arabic. He is fond of Kurdish and Persian poetry. He has travelled widely in the Middle East, Europe, the United States and Asia, meeting with heads of state and senior government officials.