Iraqi Kurdish Opposition Party Calls on Barzani to Step Down

Iraqi Kurdish Opposition Party Calls on Barzani to Step DownIraqi Kurdish Opposition Party Calls on Barzani to Step Down

A Kurdish opposition group that opposed the recent referendum on secession from Iraq on account of poor timing has called for the Kurdistan Regional Government leader to resign.

Gorran, or the Movement for Change, called for a “national salvation government” in a statement posted to its website, saying the Kurdistan Regional Government “must be dissolved”, Al Jazeera reported.

KRG leader Masoud Barzani, the party said, “refused to listen to our demands and those of Baghdad”, leaving the Kurdish region “with another terrible crisis”.

“What has happened now does not demonstrate the failure of our people and the Kurdish nation, rather it is the defeat of the authority and officials who caused the biggest crisis and disaster to the Kurdish people,” the statement said.

People in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted on September 25 in a controversial referendum, amid rising tensions and international opposition.

The US and other western allies of Iraq had urged Barzani to cancel or postpone the vote.

More than 92% voted “Yes” to secession, with turnout at almost 80%.

The referendum set off a chain of events, culminating in a military confrontation between Erbil and Baghdad.

Iraqi government forces launched a major operation in Kirkuk on October 16 aimed at retaking the Kurdish-held city, advancing towards oil fields and a strategic military base.

The Kurdish collapse was sudden.

The decision to hold the referendum in the face of near-universal condemnation now appears to have been a colossal miscalculation, analysts said, with Barzani vastly overestimating the KRG’s political and military heft and undermining his own legitimacy.

  Elections to Be Delayed

Meanwhile, elections for Iraq’s Kurdistan Region’s presidency and parliament set for Nov. 1 will be delayed because political parties failed to present candidates, the head of the electoral commission, Hendrean Mohammed, told Reuters on Monday.

Parties have been unable to focus on the elections because of turmoil that followed the referendum, a Kurdish MP said on condition of anonymity.

The Kurdish electoral commission’s Mohammed, speaking by phone from the KRG seat Erbil, in northern Iraq, said it is up to the Kurdistan region’s parliament to fix a new date for the elections. The deadline to present candidates expired last week and was extended until Monday.

The current KRG presidency, held by Barzani since 2005, and parliament, elected in 2013, are expected to continue until new votes are held, he said.


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