KDP wants Massoud Barzani as Kurdistan president for two more years

ERBIL-Hewler, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— Members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) are demanding that current Iraqi Kurdistan Region president Masoud Barzani remain in office for two more years, as Kurdish political parties struggle to find a solution to an on-going dispute over the region’s presidency. KDP officials issued a statement Monday, saying the president should remain in his position until the end of the Kurdistan Parliament’s term in 2017. Barzani is head of the KDP; a position which he has held since 1979. Barzani is nearing the end of two and a half consecutive terms, amounting to ten years in office. His second and last term, which was due to end in July 2013 according to the existing presidential law, was extended by two years by MPs because, they said, the region was not in a position to elect a new leader.
KDP members are citing a similar reason for extending the president’s term once again.

“Kurdistan is in a historical, sensitive stage now,” the statement said. “The international war against terrorists, changes and current condition of Kurdistan need national agreement and the unity of Kurdistan’s people and the political parties.”

Barzani called for an August 20 election to choose his successor earlier this summer. Political parties have not been able to agree on how the region’s next president should be elected.

Parliamentarians are considering amendments to an existing presidency law, which states the president should be elected by popular vote. New versions of the law proposed by four political parties call for the president to be appointed by parliament.

“We prefer to choose the president through negotiations,” KDP members said. “If we cannot reach a solution, we prefer that the people decide via an election.”

Former leading council member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP and Massoud Barzani’s cousin, Adham Barzani, stated last March that extending Massoud Barzani’s presidential term is against the laws and regulations of Kurdistan region. Adham Barzani critised other senior members of KDP for obeying whatever the leader says and not having their own opinion on any decision; added this will create a dictatorship.

Massoud Barzani will have served 10 years as president when his current term ends on August 19, 2015. Political discussions have been taken place for some time about whether or not to renew his mandate.

Many political parties believe that the President must be elected through a Parliamentary system.

Massoud Barzani has led Kurdistan region as president from 2005 for two executive terms and his last term was extended in 2013 by ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) for two more years on the condition that he can no longer run as president.

Barzani approves the extension of his 3rd mandate as president of Kurdistan late July 2013.