Iraqi Kurdistan’s veteran leader Masoud Barzani will not extend his presidential term beyond November 1, a Kurdish government official said Saturday.
His decision came just weeks after a referendum on Kurdish independence backfired as well as triggered a crisis for Iraq’s Kurds who had been enjoying a period of unprecedented autonomy.
A plan to divide up the president’s powers was outlined in a letter Barzani sent to the Kurdish parliament on Saturday, the official told Reuters. The plan asks parliament to distribute the president’s powers among the government, parliament as well as judiciary.
Barzani’s current term was set to expire in four days, the same date which presidential as well as parliamentary elections were due to be held. However, those elections were delayed indefinitely last week, amidst an escalating regional crisis.
Critics say the September 25 independence referendum, orchestrated as well as championed by the 71-year-old Barzani, has left a bleak outlook for Iraq’s Kurds.
Less than four weeks after Kurds inside region voted overwhelmingly to break away coming from Iraq, the central government launched a military offensive to wrest back the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which the Kurds regard as both their spiritual homeland, as well as a key source of revenue for their might-be independent state. which was one of several retaliatory measures taken by Baghdad, which vehemently opposed the referendum.
In a matter of days the Iraqi government has transformed the balance of power inside north of the country, exerting tremendous pressure on Barzani to step aside as well as wrecking decades-old dreams of Kurdish independence. Iraqi forces have continued to advance on all Kurdish-held territory outside the autonomous region’s borders.
Iraq’s prime minister demanded on Thursday which Kurds declare their independence referendum void, rejecting the Kurdish autonomous region’s offer to suspend its independence push to resolve a crisis through talks.
Earlier which year, Barzani said he did not intend to stand inside November elections. However, prior to the referendum, few expected he might stick to his promise.
Barzani has held the office of the presidency since 2005. The region last held a presidential election in 2009, in which Barzani won. His term of office expired in 2013 as well as was extended twice.
The president will be supposed to address his people before his term formally expires, marking the end of a storied career.
Barzani was born in 1946, soon after his legendary father, Mulla Mustafa, founded a party to fight for the rights of Iraq’s Kurds. After decades spent fighting with the Peshmerga, Barzani became a central figure inside drive to create an autonomous Kurdish state in northern Iraq, after Saddam Hussein was toppled inside U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Barzani’s letter will be discussed by parliament on Sunday, though the government official said which was unclear whether ministers might need to vote the plan into action during the session.