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Barzani imposes 4-day deadline for presidency debate

By Rudaw 16/8/2015
President of Kurdistan region Masoud Barzani. Rudaw photo.
President of Kurdistan region Masoud Barzani. Rudaw photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - President Masoud Barzani  called on the regional parliament in Erbil on Sunday to convene and come to an agreement regarding his presidency before Thursday,August 20, when the leader’s term in office will officially end.  
In the absence of a regional constitution to regulate the term length, the question of whether Barzani should stay his term or leave has polarized parliament and Kurdish society.
Kurdish parliament is currently reviewing a draft of a regional constitution that will be put to referendum soon after it is ratified.
Supporters of Barzani say given the current conditions in Iraq and the ongoing war with the Islamic State, or ISIS, the president should continue his term until the region and country are able to hold elections.
Critics have dismissed the argument, claiming parliament could elect a new president despite the war with ISIS along Kurdish borders.  
“To end this crisis, I ask all parties in the government and parliament and those [lawfully involved] to convene before August 20 and decide what is in the best interest of the country,” Barzani said in a short statement on Sunday.
Lawmakers of Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which is the largest faction in the parliament with 38 seats out of 111, walked out of a voting session last month in protest against parliament’s alleged reistence not to extend Barzani’s presidency.
Independent parliamentarians, who hold 11 seats, sided with the KDP and voted against parliament’s motion.
“I think the last thing we need now, with the ISIS militants at the gate and complicated wars spreading around us, is to reshuffle an experienced leader like Barzani,” said political analyst Saro Qadir during a live debate on Rudaw TV.
Qadir dismissed critics’ arguments that extending Barzani’s presidency would undermine the fragile democratic system in the country. He said other war-torn nations had done the same in the past “for the greater good.”
“We know that during the Second World War the Americans needed President [Franklin Roosevelt] to stay in office for four consecutive terms,” Qadir said, referring to when Roosevelt won his fourth term in 1944 just months before the end of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.
Former lawmaker and political commentator Adnan Osman, on the other hand, disagreed with Qadir and said extending Barzani’s term could “jeopardize Kurdish democracy” and “pave the way towards totalitarianism.”
“Why not give the chance to a young leader who could just as effectively lead the nation against the potential threats?” said Osman during the debate, adding that parliament could elect a new  president to serve until next general election.


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B | 16/8/2015
Barzani, be a man and step-up. Don't tarnish your history more so than it already is!
Hoshyar Zaxoy | 16/8/2015
whether he goes or not there are three main parties with own army, police and area. This democracy is a joke and comparing with Franklin Roosevelt is ludicrous
azad | 16/8/2015
They didn't replace Churchill during World War 2. Well the kurdish people are going through their World War 2 right now. We are in a major war facing enemies on all sides. This is not time for risky changes in political leadership. It only serves the enemy and the parties and individuals who want Barzani to stop are only saying that for the sake of their own parties hizbayati. Not to mention that Barzani's powers as "serok" are only symbolic. We all know that PUK controles Kirkuk, Gorran Sulaymaniyah and KDP controles Erbil. Barzani's role is limited to diplomatic relations with the west and he has done a fantastic job here. Noone can do a better job. He has charisma. Political and diplomatic skills. Who can do a better job? Khosrat Rasool? Hero? Nawshirwan? They can't even talk properly in front of a camera. Only Mam Jalal could match Barzani when it comes to political talent and he is gone now. Churchil stayed and Barzani will too. Stop pretending that we are an established country with a succesful democracy, system and"constitution". We are a small region in war and with enemies all around us. There is no constitution. Its all symbolic. Don't get over your head. Barzani will stay because there is noone else right now. This is not time for changes in symbolic leadership. This is hizbyati and will only serve our many enemies.
Makwan Slemani | 16/8/2015
While Barzani has been in office The Autonomous Kurdish Region of Iraq has developed and become much more well recognized around the world however I'd argue change is necessary. At this stage since the end of the Iraq war that overthrew the Ba'athist regime four Iraqi Prime Ministers have held office. Within Kurdistan one president has held office, Masoud Barzani. I will make no claims towards corruption as people can determine their own opinions however it is fact that his term was already extended by two years. I seek a future for Kurdistan that has no form of a monarchy and has no form of dictatorship. Neither of these extremes have taken hold and I thank god for that. To be sure that they will not occur let me restate it, I seek change, I seek democracy.
democracy please | 16/8/2015
"Supporters of Barzani say given the current conditions in Iraq and the ongoing war with the Islamic State, or ISIS, the president should continue his term until the region and country are able to hold elections" Weren't they saying the same thing before ISIS fight in 2013? This is about giving massoud barzani another 8 years through their demand for presidential elections. Why didn't kdp want people to elect president when barzani was halfway through the 10 years in office?

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