Barzani’s presidential term extended to 2015
ARBIL - Reuters
Lawmakers agreed to extend Massoud Barzani’s term until 2015. REUTERS photoThe president of the Kurdistan Regional President (KRG), Massoud Barzani, is set to stay in office for another two years, after lawmakers voted June 30 to extend his tenure amid scuffles in Parliament and an outcry from opposition parties.
Barzani’s presidency had been due to end this summer, when his second term of four years ends, but in recent months members of his party said legal ambiguities might allow him to remain longer or run again. The region’s presidential law places a limit of two four-year terms on the position.
“We are against the extension. We think it is illegal,” said Mohammed Tofiq, head of public relations for opposition party Gorran (Change). “It proves to everyone that there is no democracy (in Kurdistan).” Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) governs the northern enclave in partnership with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), whose leader Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was flown to Germany last December after suffering a stroke.
Between them, the KDP and PUK hold a majority of seats in the assembly, followed by Gorran, which was at the forefront of anti-government protests in 2011 during which at least 10 people died. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held later this year.