Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani speaks at a conference in November, 2017 in Erbil. File photo: AFP/Safin Hamed
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has asked the Kurdish parliament to set a day for parliamentary and presidential elections within the next three months.
PM Barzani sent an official letter to the parliament on Sunday with regards to the general elections.
“We ask the parliament of Kurdistan to take necessary legal procedures to hold the elections within three months so that we can set a date for the elections during this period,” according to a letter dated December 12, 2017.
A KRG delegation headed by PM Barzani and his deputy Qubad Talabani in recent weeks visited the Kurdish parties with regards to the upcoming general elections including the date of the elections.
During these meetings, “we reached the conclusion that returning to the power of the people and holding elections is the best choice to guarantee unity and resolve the problems of the Kurdistan Region,” the letter signed by PM Barzani explained.
It is not clear whether the Kurdish elections will take place before or after the Iraqi parliamentary election that is scheduled for May 12, 2018.
The Kurdish parliament in late October decided to postpone the election that was initially scheduled for November 1, mainly because of the Iraqi military’s incursion into disputed or Kurdistani areas claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad, such as oil-rich Kirkuk that fell to the Iraqi forces on October 16.
Kurdistan’s five major parties have yet to make their positions clear.
The Kurdistan Region has lost about half of its oil-revenues because of the loss of Kirkuk oil wells, something that has forced Erbil to reveal plans that it will make more salary cuts to the 1.2 million people on its payroll.
It has also failed to bring the Iraqi government to the negotiation table in order to resolve their outstanding issues after the Baghdad-opposed Kurdish vote on independence that saw nearly 93 percent of the people voting to leave Iraq in September. This is despite global pressure to encourage talks between the two sides.
The parliament in late October extended its current term for eight months.