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The Guy Who Threw His Shoes At George W. Bush Is Running For Office In Iraq

Not sure about his platforms, but he sure has sole.

Last updated on May 1, 2018, at 2:06 p.m. ET

Posted on May 1, 2018, at 1:19 p.m. ET

This guy, Muntazer al-Zaidi, is running for parliament in Iraq, and if you're not excited about that, you may not be used to seeing him from the front.

بعد التوكل على الله عقدنا العزم على كنس الفاسدين منتظر الزيدي #تحالف_سائرون 156 تسلسل 95 #العراق #الانتخابات_النيابية #الانتخابات_العراقية

Here's the vantage point most people will recognize him from: his role as The Shoe Thrower in the George W. Bush Shoeing Incident of 2008.

View this video on YouTube

Yes, it was a little less than 10 years ago when the world was witness to this iconic moment.

CBS / Via

"This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," he yelled in Arabic while chucking his footwear at Bush. "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq," he managed to get out as the second shoe flew, before then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's bodyguards tackled him.

"When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, George Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people," he would later say. "My rejection of his plundering the wealth of my country, and destroying its infrastructure. And casting out its sons into a diaspora."

In the aftermath, Zaidi was arrested and sent to prison for attacking a visiting head of state. He spent nine months in the big house — getting let go early for good behavior — before leaving the country for a while in 2009.

Hadi Mizban / AP

He first returned to the country in 2011, and since then has kept a relatively low profile, working with the al-Zaidi Foundation, which says its goal is "to find a safe atmosphere for the children who lost their parents during the American occupation on Iraq."

Now Zaidi is hoping to help set the course for Iraq's future. How's that for a potential reversal of fortune?

A few folks on the internet, our site included, believed that Zaidi was running for president of Iraq. He even used his account to retweet this, which said as much:

Incase y'all didn't know, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi hero who threw his shoe at Bush in 2008 is running for president in the upcoming Iraqi elections.

But, according to his announcement video, he's definitely running for the Council of Representatives, the country's parliament.

View this video on YouTube

You'd be forgiven for getting confused about who the current president of Iraq is and who wants the gig: The role is extremely ceremonial.

Marwan Ibrahim / AFP / Getty Images

The president, under the Iraqi Constitution, "safeguards the commitment to the Constitution and the preservation of Iraq's independence, sovereignty, unity, the security of its territories in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution." A maximum of two, four-year terms keeps anyone from staying in place for too long.

This guy, Fuad Masum, is the current office holder, having taken up the job in 2014. If our math checks out, that means he's still eligible to be president once again.

Stringer / AFP / Getty Images

Iraq chooses its president in an even more roundabout way than the US does: The Iraqi parliament selects both the prime minister, who actually runs the government, and the president.

That means the next election, due to take place May 12, will decide the entirety of Iraq's national government, and if Zaidi wins, he'll get to help choose the next president.

Unfortunately, he won't have the infamous shoes to use as a campaign prop — they were destroyed by US and Iraqi security back in 2008.


(H/T @ghoshworld for alerting us to this campaign and @mai_alsadany for letting us know what Zaidi is actually running for.)


Muntazer al-Zaidi is running for parliament in Iraq. A previous version of this article incorrectly said that he was running for president.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.