Barzani’s Controversial Position

Issa Chomani

By Issa Chomani:

The Kurdistan Democratic Party [KDP], led by Massoud Barzani has reached the realisation that, they alone are not the decision makers unilaterally, on crucial matters concerning the political system, economy, oil and gas files, constitution amendments, foreign affairs, etc.  Just a few days are now left until the end of Barzani’s presidency term as he has served for two terms plus a two-year extension agreed by parliament in 2013. The final days might bring a bitter predisposition for the KDP, particularly for Barzani, as it could end his presidency while the political parties have not reached a rapprochement to further extend or find a legal way for him to remain in power.

The KDP’s political bureau announced that the current situation for the region and the ISIL war requires someone like Barzani, and the only appropriate person is Massoud Barzani, and so recently they officially demanded for the other parties to agree on him; they are also insisting that the election of president must be directly by the people rather than in parliament.

Reality creates a barrier for the KDP: Barzani’s tenure approaches its expiration date (19 August 2015). According to the Kurdistan regional presidency law, there is no loophole for him to be re-elected for another term and, secondly, the parliament law passed in 2013 very clearly states that the extension is for two years and stipulates that it cannot be further extended.

Furthermore, the Change Movement has 24 seats, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK] has 18 seats, the Kurdistan Islamic Union, Islamic Group and Islamic Movement have 17 seats, making a total of 59 seats out of 111; while the KDP has 52 seats.

So far, both sides agree to disagree, although all the political parties are talking about consensus and compromise.

The chief of the executive body of the politbureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Mullah Bakhtiar, said that the PUK would not repeat the scenario of 30th June 2013 when, mutually with the KDP, it extended Barzani’s presidency for two years. The Change Movement has from the start been emphasizing changing the political system, from presidential to parliamentary, because they believe that it is a well-established Middle-Eastern-Fact that the presidential system only breeds dictators and corrupt leaders and so it doesn’t intend to compromise on this.

Barzani is strongly criticized for using the presidential position for his party and his family: for example, whenever he travels abroad, he is accompanied by a staff of his political party members and even by his grandchildren. Intellectuals and many other political trends criticize him for not institutionalizing the Kurdistan region presidency because Barzani is still using his residency as a place where the KDP political bureau is convened. His opponents believe he wants to build a monarchial system that paves the way for his son to take his position when he no longer can run the presidency. They also claim that Mr Barzani uses all the files of oil and foreign affairs for the benefit of his party alone, rather than to develop the Kurdish nation as a whole.

Despite the talks and disagreements concerning the political system, Massoud Barzani has set August 20, 2015 as the date for presidential elections in the Kurdistan Region, directly by people, even though Kurdistan’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) says it does not have the necessary legal requirements in place to carry out an election on that date.

All in all, Kurdistan President and KDP leader Massoud Barzani has served 10 years as president when his current term ends on August 19, 2015. No loophole has been found to re-elect him for a fourth time, although KDP still insists that he is the only candidate. It is unclear – if no agreement is reached – what will happen on 19th August.

Issa Chomani is a freelance journalist writing on the political affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government and covering Kurdish politics for Kurdish media outlets


One Response to Barzani’s Controversial Position
  1. Darvish
    August 8, 2015 | 06:52

    To Masood Barzani: Go. It’s time. There is no independence. HE the U.S. president Barrack Obama openly stated that his administration does not support it at this time. Respect Democracy. You are not the best. Your party’s past file is thick with corruption, crimes, violence. Don’t have Peshmargas killed for sake your position. Kurdistan is sunk in debts. Don’t make public suffer.

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