Lawmakers in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region are divided over the issue of a third term of office for Kurdistan’s President Massoud Barzani.
The presidential election is nearing in Iraq’s Kurdistan and Barzani’s second term is coming to an end in July.
The division among Iraqi Kurds comes as Barzani has not yet formally announced his decision to run for a third consecutive term.
Some of the Region’s lawmakers say a third term for Barzani is against the law.
Burhan Rasheed, a lawmaker with the Change Movement, said, “As an MP and member of the legal committee, the details of articles two, three and seventeen of the Regional presidency law are clear. The president has finished both of his terms. Legally he does not have the right to nominate himself for the election, unless they legislate law to create a monarchy system.”
However, Avin Omer, a Kurdistan Democratic Party lawmaker, said, “It’s not just the Kurdistan Democratic Party officials or just in the Kurdistan Region, but also outside of the Kurdistan Region politicians themselves know that having President Massoud Barzani is necessary for the Regional presidency of today’s Kurdistan Region. It’s not him that needs the post, but the Kurdistan Region that needs a leader like Massoud Barzani to make decisions.”
Kamal Said Qadir is the only candidate who has announced decisions to run against Barzani in the election of September.
Barzani’s political party supports a presidential system for the region, while the opposition backs a parliamentary system to limit the president’s influence.
Barzani was first elected by the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament in 2005. In 2009, he was reelected in a popular vote.