A Kurdish man casts his vote in the 2013 general elections in the Kurdistan Region. File Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani has set November 1, 2017 for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Kurdistan Region.
In a decree signed on July 12, a copy of which was obtained by Rudaw, Barzani officially called the elections, saying the date was set in accordance with the presidential law passed by the Kurdistan legislature in 2005.
“All concerned parties are committed to do the necessary work and will support and coordinate with the Kurdistan Higher Independent Election Commission and Referendum to implement this decree,” the decree continued.
The Kurdistan Region last held parliamentary elections in 2013. The presidential election has not been held since 2009.
Barzani, who won the 2009 vote with a landslide, has already said that he will not stand in the November elections.
His term of office expired in 2013 and has since been extended twice, once by the Kurdistan parliament and then in a controversial court decision.
Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 38 seats in 2013, followed by the Gorran (Change) Movement with 24 seats, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) with 18, the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) with 10, and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) with 6.
Following the elections, Gorran, established in 2009, joined the broad-based KDP-led government, holding a number of key posts including heading the ministries of Peshmerga and finance, as well the parliament speaker.
Following days of protests and rising tensions between KDP and Gorran, the KDP sacked the Gorran ministers and blocked parliament speaker Yousif Mohammed from returning to the parliament building in October 2015.
The Kurdistan legislature has not convened since and every attempt to reactivate the parliament has failed.
The KDP announced this week that they have dropped their conditions to reactivate the parliament, thereby accepting the return of the parliament speaker, in order to help the referendum succeed.
Gorran has said they will respond to KDP’s offer after the party elects a new leader to replace their late founder Nawshirwan Mustafa who died earlier this year from cancer.
Gorran is set to elect a new leader on July 25.
The call for the elections comes as the Kurdistan region will hold an independence referendum on September 25.