Barzani won't extend term beyond Nov. 1: official

Published 28.10.2017 20:00
Updated 28.10.2017 20:06
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani will not extend his presidential term beyond November 1, a government official said on Saturday as the KRG Parliament announced it will meet Sunday to redistribute the powers of the president.

A statement from Barzani will be read out at the meeting which is set to open at 1100 GMT, parliament said on Saturday.

On Tuesday, parliament decided to freeze the activities of Barzani, his vice-president Kosrat Rasul and the head of the presidential cabinet, Fuad Hussein.

Barzani came under growing opposition from his detractors after he organized the September 25 referendum on Kurdish independence that triggered a deep crisis with Baghdad.

The federal government opposed the vote which it deemed unconstitutional, and its forces have since seized a swathe of disputed territory from Kurdish fighters.

The main opposition party in the region, the Goran movement, called on Barzani to step down after the loss of Kurdish-controlled territory.

Kurdish MP Iden Maarouf said parliament will meet on Sunday to see how best to "redistribute the president's powers" among the legislative, executive and judicial authorities.

Despite scoring a major victory with a resounding "yes" for independence in the referendum, Barzani now finds himself increasingly isolated.

After the vote, the sweeping operation by the central government reclaimed from the Kurds swathes of territory and oilfields in and around the disputed province of Kirkuk.

The loss of the oilfields, which provided income that would have been critical to an independent state, sparked recriminations among the Kurds.

Two main parties dominate political life in KRG, Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of late Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.

Iraq's current president, Fuad Masum, is also a member of the PUK and had supported a UN-backed push for dialogue between the Kurds and Baghdad before the referendum.

After the vote Masum said the independence referendum had triggered the assault on Kirkuk.

On Tuesday, when parliament froze Barzani's powers, it also announced its decision to hold legislative elections in eight months.

The mandate of Barzani, the first and only elected president of the autonomous Kurdish region, expired in 2013.

It was extended for two years and then continued in the chaos that followed the Daesh's sweeping offensive across Iraq in 2014.

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