Classifieds | Archives | Jobs | About TGT | Contact | Subscribe
Last updated 13 minutes ago
Printer Friendly Version | TGT@Twitter | RSS Feed |
Barzani re-election plans spark row
April 15, 2013
 Print    Send to Friend

SULAIMANIYAH: Moves to clear the way for Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani to serve a third term have sparked criticism in a region that touts itself as a democratic haven in an unstable country.

Much-delayed elections in the autonomous region in Iraq’s north were due before Sept. 8, and voters were set to cast their ballots in provincial, parliamentary and presidential races.

In the last of those, Barzani and his dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) are looking to bypass what his opponents say are clear legal hurdles to another term in office.

“We are against extending Barzani’s time in office, and we are against him being able to run for a third term,” said Yusuf Mohammed, a senior leader in Goran, the main opposition party in the region.

Barzani’s KDP and the smaller Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), headed by ailing Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, have largely held a duopoly in Kurdish politics and have even run on a joint slate in recent elections.

Together, the two parties hold a majority of seats in Kurdistan’s 111-seat regional parliament.

Barzani, the son of revered Kurdish nationalist leader and KDP founder Mulla Mustafa Barzani, has enjoyed tremendous popularity in the region, winning 69.6 per cent of votes in the most recent presidential election in 2009.

Born in 1946 in Mahabad, capital of the short-lived Kurdish republic declared by his father during Iran’s post-war unrest, Barzani joined the fight for an independent Kurdistan as a teenager.

He took over the leadership of the KDP from his father in 1979 and has held the position ever since.

But his efforts to win a third term in office — he was initially appointed by Kurdish MPs in 2005, and re-elected four years later — have not met with universal agreement.

Opponents of Barzani and the KDP — principally Goran, but also the region’s Islamic and Communist parties and some PUK supporters — argue that he has served two full terms, and has completed the maximum allowed time.

“Nominating Barzani for a third term is illegal, he has no right to run,” said Goran Azad, one of the few PUK members of the Kurdish parliament opposed to Barzani running again.

His supporters, however, say that because the first term was not the result of a popular election, he has one more left. KDP is currently looking at the legal issues around Barzani standing for another term, party spokesman Jaafar Aiminki said.

KDP foreign relations chief Hayman Hawrami added that the party would take “constitutional and legal means, and deliberate with other political parties in Kurdistan, regarding this subject.”

Made up of three provinces — Arbil, where the eponymous regional capital lies, Sulaimaniyah and Dohuk — the region controls most of its internal affairs and has sought to lessen its economic dependency on the central government.

“The nature of authority in the (Kurdistan) region comes close to that of a dictatorship, and does not give any importance to the demands of citizens,” said Salahedden Bahaddin, a former leader of the Kurdistan Islamic Union.

“If he does not step back (from the proposals)...the same fate of the dictatorships in the region awaits him,” Bahaddin said, a reference to Arab Spring uprisings that unseated strongmen in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.

Some among the region’s independent press have also voiced opposition to the plans.

“Putting Barzani forward for another term is not democratic,” said Ahmed Mira, editor-in-chief of the Levine weekly.

Agence France-Presse

Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Post a comment
Related Stories
Woman named Baghdad mayor for first time
BAGHDAD: A woman has been named as mayor of Baghdad for the first time, a government spokesman said on Saturday, amid widespread corruption and rampant violence. Zekra..
Iraq’s new PM battles to unite fractured nation
BAGHDAD: Three months after he took office with a mission to unite his broken, warring country, Iraq’s new prime minister has swept away the divisive legacy of his predec..
Abadi wants Shiite militias to work under control
BAGHDAD: Iraq’s prime minister-designate called on the country’s numerous Shiite militias and tribes to come under government control and stop acting independently on Mon..
Kurd ministers return to Iraq administration
BAGHDAD: Kurdish ministers who suspended their participation in the government of outgoing Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki have rejoined the administration, Iraq’s outgoin..
Former VP urges role for Saddam people
ISTANBUL: Former president Saddam Hussein’s Baath party must play a role if a political solution is to be found in Iraq, ex-vice president Tarek Al Hashemi said on Monday..
Advertise | Copyright