Massoud Barzani says fundamental reforms will be made in Iraqi Kurdistan government

Massoud Barzani, whose term as President of the Kurdistan Region ended on August 20, 2015, but refused to step down and remains unofficially in office.
HEWLÊR-Erbil, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— KDP party leader Massoud Barzani announced on Thursday that fundamental reforms will be made in the government. Mechanisms will be put in place to overcome the economic crisis, Islamic State (IS) will be defeated and independence for the Kurdish people will be pursued at all costs.

“If we do not step up our efforts for reforms we will lose everything and I thank anybody who gives us information and helps us in the reform campaigns,” said Barzani during a meeting with his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) members in Erbil where he discussed many other topics, including the fight against IS and Kurdish independence.

Barzani, whose term as President of the Kurdistan Region ended on August 20, 2015, but refused to step down and remains unofficially in office, said that “grassroots reform within the government framework must be carried out in coordination with a commission that will seek to uphold integrity in government.”

Bringing up corruption cases in the region Barzani added that he personally has prepared and “documented 20 cases and I will give it to them [the government and commission of integrity]. If they work on it, it is good, if not I will personally work on it.”

Barzani insisted that launching reforms is “the most important thing that we should make and unless we do it, we will [pay the price].”

“While making reforms we will not turn a blind eye on anybody,” he vowed. .

On the economic crisis, which the region has been suffering from since Baghdad cut off the 17 percent budget share at the hands of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2014, Barzani said the crisis was worsened by the fact that most people depended on government money (mostly made from the sale of oil) for their salaries. He called this state of affairs a “deadly poison.”

Barzani believes that there are certain means to solve this crisis, including diversifying the economy and creating more jobs in different sectors, such as agriculture.

In parts of his speech, Barzani declared that “if we spill blood this time, it is only for independence, we must make it come true and all the blood that we have spilled so far will not be wasted.”

“Independence is our right and we have worked for and we will never give it up,” he added .

In late January, Barzani told Kurdish political parties that a referendum on Kurdish independence should take place before the US presidential election in November.

It does not matter who will declare independence, “even if a child does,” Barzani exclaimed proudly, “we will appreciate anybody who will support us in order to answer the mother of a martyred Peshmerga if she asks why her son spilled his blood?”

Before Barzani concluded his speech, he warned that “IS has not ended.”

“As long as IS is in Mosul, they will pose threat to Erbil and Duhok,” Barzani added, noting that “the world is witnessing that we are defeating IS.”

We lost some territories in the beginning,” he said, “But what matters is that in the end we succeeded because a large span of territories that we lost to IS was retaken by the Peshmerga and with the help of the [US-led] coalition.”

On October 9, 2015 the five main Kurdish parties, the KDP, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Change Movement, Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) and Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) held nine rounds of negotiations at the Grand Millennium Hotel in Sulaimani, but failed, because KDP members insist that Massoud Barzani should remain president of the region.

Kurdistan PM Nechirvan Barzani has removed four members of his cabinet from the Change (Gorran) Movement on October 13, 2015. Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament’s Speaker Yusuf Mohammad Sadiq was prevented from entering Erbil city on October 11, 2015. Since then Kurdistan parliament parliament has been suspended.

The expelled ministers were replaced on October 28, 2015 with KDP politicians.