IraqMiddle East

KRG parliament speaker resigns after anti-corruption protests


After days of protests staged all across Kurdish regions of northern Iraq, the Speaker of the regional parliament Yousef Muhammed resigned on Tuesday.

The protesters say they are angry with corruption and mismanagement in KRG establishment.

After two political parties withdrew from the Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional ruling coalition amid ongoing popular protests against corruption and mismanagement, the Speaker of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) parliament, Yousef Muhammed announced his resignation on Monday.

Muhammed, a senior member of the opposition Movement for Change (Goran) Party, said that he has always tried to use his position for the interest of his people and today’s resignation served the same purpose.

His decision came a week after the Goran and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) both announced their withdrawal from the KRG’s ruling coalition to show support for the large anti-government rallies held in Sulaymaniyah and other areas of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Goran, which holds 24 seats in the Kurdish parliament, forfeits the Kurdish parliamentary speakership, along with the KRG’s finance and Peshmerga affairs portfolios.

Since Monday, Sulaymaniyah — one of the KRG-held region’s largest cities — has been rocked by massive demonstrations by civil servants demanding payment of overdue salaries and an end of perceived government corruption.

On Tuesday, at least five protesters were shot dead by local security forces in the city, while a number of public facilities — including several party offices — were torched by angry demonstrators.

According to local witnesses, protesters set fire to the local offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (the KRG’s leading coalition partner) and the Iraqi Turkmen Front.

Local authorities have since stepped up security throughout the region with a view to preventing further escalations.

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