Kurdish parliament: 'Barzani powers to be reallocated'

Kurdish parliament: 'Barzani powers to be reallocated'
Despite scoring a major victory with a resounding 'yes' in the Kurdish independence referendum, Barzani now finds himself increasingly isolated in the political realm
2 min read
28 October, 2017
Masoud Barzani is facing increasing pressure to quit [Anadolu]

Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region parliament said it will meet on Sunday to redistribute the powers of President Masoud Barzani who is being pressured to quit after last month's independence vote.

A statement from Barzani will be read out at the meeting which is set to open at 11am GMT, parliament announced 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 organised the 25 September referendum on Kurdish independence that had triggered a deep crisis with Baghdad.

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

Iraqi Kurdistan'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 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 in the political realm.

Mounting pressure

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 had sparked recriminations among the Kurds.

Two main parties dominate political life in the Kurdish autnonomous region, 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.

Regional legislative and presidential elections had both been due on November 1 but were postponed after Baghdad seized territory and oilfields from the Kurds.

The Kurdish parliament has not set a date for a new presidential election.

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

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