Shaswar Abdulwahid

Shaswar Abdulwahid is the leader of the opposition New Generation Movement. He is a media mogul and businessman who turned to politics, firstly as the leader of the “No for Now” campaign during the Kurdish independence referendum in 2017. He was born in Sulaimaniyah in 1978.



Education: 2005: Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Sulaimaniyah University.

Media and affiliations: Abdulwahid founded Nalia Company, the parent company of Nalia Radio and Television (NRT) news channel, in 2010, which started broadcasting in February 2011. Nalia company also has a number of other TV channels (NRT2, NRT3, NRT4 and NRT Sport) along with its Digital Media and Nalia Radio.

Languages: Kurdish (mother tongue), Arabic, English Family: - Father: Abdulwahid Qadir (deceased) - Mother: Zakiya Ahmed Rahim - Married with Shoxan Husain, they have three children: Chavi, Nali and Arzhan - His sister, Sirwa Abdulwahid, a former journalist and former Change Movement (Gorran) MP, now head the New Generation’s parliamentary group in Baghdad. - He has one brother and three sisters.


2007, June: Founds the Nalia Group for real estate investment in Sulaimaniyah and starts developing a housing complex called German Village.

2011, 17 February: Just days after the launch of NRT TV, the station’s main office in Sulaimaniyah is raided and burned down. The station had extensively covered anti government demonstrations, in which a number of demonstrators were killed and injured.

2013, 26 October: Survived an assassination attempt while in his car near his house in the German Village, Sulaimaniyah. Says the shooting is politically motivated.

2017, 25 July: Two months ahead of the Kurdish independence referendum, announces that he will lead a “Vote No” campaign.

2017, 7 August: Official launch of “No for Now” campaign encouraging locals to vote against Kurdish independence in the referendum in six weeks’ time.

2017, 9 September: Puts spotlight on his campaign against the widely backed referendum on Kurdish independence with a well-attended campaign rally at Sulaimaniyah football stadium.

2017, 25 September: Casts vote against Kurdish independence in referendum, calling it a “historic day to register opposition to the current system of Kurdish governance”.

2017, 5 October: Announces that he is resigning from his businesses to dedicate “my life and wealth to a greater cause: a prosperous and peaceful country”.

2017, 1 October: Announces launch of a new political group in Sulaimaniyah, the “New Generation Movement”, which he says will compete in regional parliamentary elections in 2018.

2017, 19 December: Arrested in Sulaimaniyah Airport upon his return from the UK over allegations of involvement in “organizing and encouraging people to protest” at anti government protests in Sulaimaniyah.

2017, 26 December: Released on bail after a week-long detention 2018, 12 May: Casts his vote in Iraqi parliamentary elections. His New Generation bloc wins four seats on its debut in the 329-seat national parliament.

2018, 22 July: New Generation’s Erbil office is raided by security forces linked to the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). New Generation claims that the KDP is preventing it from campaigning for the upcoming Kurdistan Region elections, scheduled for September.

2018, 29 July: Nominated by New Generation to lead the movement’s electoral list.

2018, 27 September: Votes in Kurdistan Region parliamentary elections. New Generation secures eight seats, making it the largest opposition group in the 111-seat Kurdistan Parliament.

2019, May 16: Detained with 11 party members on charges of misuse of communication devices law. The case has not been resolved yet due to lack of evidence. Several warrants issued for his arrest after he announced launch of New Generation Movement.

2019, 30 May: Released on bail after two weeks in a Sulaimaniyah jail on charges of misusing mobile technology.

2019, 5 October: Re-elected as party leader at New Generation’s first party conference in Sulaimaniyah.

2020, 6 January: Backs US and coalition forces staying in Iraq after Iraqi parliament issues non-binding resolution calling for the federal government to request a withdrawal of foreign forces.

2020, 22 February: Attends anti-government protest in Sulaimaniyah at which he pledges to organize wider protests.

2020, 3 May: Presents New Generation Movement’s “roadmap” to resolve financial and administrative crises and pay public sector workers.

2020, 22 June: Public Prosecutor in the Kurdistan Region calls for the “permanent” closure of opposition-affiliated NRT TV channels, in Kurdish and Arabic, owing to their coverage of the pandemic.

2020, 12 August: Takes part in protests in Sulaimaniyah that he had called for three days earlier to demand the dissolution of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Arrests were made during the protests, which took place in all of the region’s provinces, including New Generation members and journalists.

2020, 6 October: Accuses Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of “too much talk and too little action” when it comes to the issues faced by its people and reiterates his call to abandon independent oil exports in a speech two days after KRG PM Masrour Barzani appeared before the regional parliament to defend his government’s performance.

2021, 16 February: Abdulwahid “strongly condemns“ a 15 February rocket attack on Erbil that left one killed and several injured.

2021, 11 October: New Generation wins nine seats in Iraq’s early parliamentary election – five in Sulaimaniyah; three in Erbil; and one in Kirkuk – more than doubling the success it saw in its debut in the previous poll for the Baghdad legislature. This makes it the third-largest Kurdish party in Baghdad, behind the Kurdistan Democratic Party (34 seats) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (16 seats).

2021, 12 October: New Generation’s poll results were “very good” in the “cleanest election since the fall of the former regime” in 2003, he says, adding that his party is making preparations to replace the ruling parties in the next elections in the Kurdistan Region in order to take control of the regional government.

2021, 15 December: New Generation party forms a 28-strong opposition bloc at the Iraqi parliament with the Extension (Imtidad) Movement and other independent MPs. Abdulwahid appointed leader of “For the People” (Min Ajil Al-Shaib), which says it aims “to monitor the government in order to fight corruption and strengthen the institutions of the state and serve the people”.

2022, 16 February: Abdulwahid responds to Federal Supreme Court ruling on the Kurdistan Region’s “unconstitutional” energy sector by saying that he cannot back the region’s position on energy owing to the lack of transparency in how the sector is run. Calls for an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad.

New Generation

New Generation