President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani. Photo: Rudaw/file
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – President Masoud Barzani has ruled out himself and members of his family from running for the Kurdish presidency when the elections are due on November 1.
“The elections are in November on its time,” Barzani told the Saudi Okaz newspaper on August 16, "I will not nominate, and neither will I nominate anyone of my relatives for the presidency," he continued.
Barzani’s sons fill a number of key positions in the Kurdish government, including Masrour who is the Chancellor of the Kurdistan Security Council.
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is also his nephew.
He had earlier told the US-based Foreign Policy magazine in June that he himself would not stand in the presidential election.
Barzani's term in office ended in 2013 after serving two four-year terms and was then extended for two years by an act from the then Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) dominated parliament. It was further extended by a Kurdish court when the political parties failed to reach a negotiated solution.
His term in office and the debate about what system should Kurdistan have — presidential as promoted by Barzani’s KDP or parliamentarian as almost all other major parties demand — have been the main factors behind the political stalemate.
The Kurdistan presidency law as passed by the parliament stipulated for the president to be elected by direct popular vote, as was the case in 2009 when President Barzani won more than 70 percent of the votes.