The longtime president of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan said Sunday that he intends to resign, a month after he led a widely criticized referendum on independence that triggered a military response by the Iraqi government.
Masoud Barzani, whose father had been the face of the Kurdish minority’s struggle in Iraq, had promised that the vote would be a vital step in a century-long fight for self-rule. Instead, it unraveled many of the gains the Kurds had made in carving out a semiautonomous region in northern Iraq after decades of war.
Barzani’s intention to step down was announced in a letter addressed to the Kurdistan region’s parliament on Sunday. It was not clear whether Barzani intends to leave public life or whether his resignation would simply curtail his powers and redistribute authority to the legislature and the prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government.
A senior aide to Barzani said in a Twitter post that the president would not seek an extension of his mandate past Wednesday. Nov. 1 was the date of a planned election for president and parliament that has now been postponed indefinitely.
Barzani has been president of KRG since 2005 and has continued to serve in the role despite his term expiring in 2013. He engineered several extensions through parliament, roiling his opposition amid a security and financial crisis sparked by the rise of the Islamic State militant group in 2014 and the collapse of global oil prices.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Tamer El-Ghobashy