Barzani will not extend presidential term: KRG official
Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Masoud Barzani will not extend his presidential term beyond Nov. 1, a Kurdish government official said on Oct. 28.
A plan to divide up the president's powers was outlined in a letter Barzani sent to the Kurdish parliament on Oct. 28, which it will discuss on Oct. 29, the official said, Reuters reported.
Barzani came under growing opposition from his detractors after he organized the Sept. 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 peshmerga forces.
KRG’s main opposition party, 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 Oct. 29 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 Kurdish state, sparked recriminations among the Kurds.
Two main parties dominate political life in the 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 U.N.-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.
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 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) sweeping offensive across Iraq in 2014.