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Masoud Barzani’s Statement on His Presidency Term

masoud barzaniThe President of the Kurdistan Region published a statement about the current political crisis in Kurdistan over his term and the presidential elections.

Here are some excerpts of his statements:

Kurdistan’s Revolution has been started for the sake of liberty, freedom and justice. In that context, in March 1991 in the town of Koye, I called on the people of Kurdistan to hold an election and that revolutionary legitimacy ought to be replaced by electoral legitimacy, democracy and constitution. I am proud that I have fought for democracy and have called for the first democratic elections in Kurdistan… I am also proud that I have said that no one should be above the law, and throughout my work I have been committed to that and have worked to uphold the principles of law. During the internal conflicts and problems, I have always tried to safe Kurdistan from war, and during war, have tried to create peace so that the democratic process in our country could continue. I cannot forget the role of my dear brother Mr. Mam Jalal,  who despite the obstacles of those who disliked peace, tried effortlessly or peace, and eventually, thanks God, we were both able to recreate peace in Kurdistan.

Upon the 2005’s election of the President of the Kurdistan Region by the Parliament of Kurdistan, we didn’t have any objection or problem regarding electing the President inside the Parliament or by a direct election of the people. Personally, I have been always with the direct election of the President by the people; however, what was crucial to me was the establishing of the presidency institution in Kurdistan and having a president which can serve its people and nation. At that time Kurdistan was in a context which required the strengthening of its institutions.

We are now witnessing an forceful effort by some [political parties], apart from the principles of consensus and teamwork of which the Presidency of the Parliament and the Eight Cabinet has been founded upon, who want to change the election mechanism of the President of Kurdistan Region and amend his authorities. Behind those efforts are personal and political purposes.

The aim of August 23rd session of the Parliament was born out of the intention destroying consensus. On July 16, 2013, before anyone else, I asked the Parliament and the political parties to reach consensus on the constitutional draft; that is a proof that we are tolerant towards the others comments and will. As a reminder, I hereby quote the letter I wrote to the Parliament: “I urge the presidency of the next term of the Parliament, that after September 21 – 2013 elections, immediately as its preliminary sessions end, to find a mechanism so that in less than a year they can reach a consensus on the amendments of the Constitution Project and the mechanism of electing the President of Kurdistan Region. Thereafter should come an election for a new president of Kurdistan Region and I will bestow the responsibility to another esteemed person that gains the trust of the people of Kurdistan.”

Based on this text, I am asking whether this connotes that I want to remain on the seat or that it means that our entity should own a constitution and a political process based on the people’s voice and consensus?

We wanted to reach an agreement on all the laws by dialogue and consensus; strong evidence is our attitude towards the Constitution Project of Kurdistan Region.

I am a Peshmarga of independence which I consider superior than any other position and anyone who shares this goal is our friend and brother.  I consider all Peshmargas as my sons and daughters and relatives. The people of the area are my neighbor and friend. And I reiterate myself to the culture of coexistence, peace, and protecting the ethnicities and religions.

While we are at a long and enduring war with ISIS, we are all deeply sad for the loss and injury of hundreds of Peshmarga, for the kidnapping of hundreds of our girls and women, and for thelarge number of our nation’s IDPs live under tents. At such a critical time I didn’t wanted to publish such a statement. However, since they developed this issue to such a bitter level, where the neighboring and friendly countries inform us that the creation of this crisis is wrong and brings us harm, and since the issue has been personalized with me, I thought it would be necessary to release this statement to our respected public.

In May 2015, after our visit to the United States and several European countries, we witnessed a brighter horizon for the case of an independent Kurdistan, but the creation of this issue [presidency crisis] threatens it. There are some who reject an independent Kurdistan to be established at the hands of Masoud Barzani, but I am grateful and thankful to anyone who could achieve this wish of the people of Kurdistan. That’s the difference between me and them!

Regarding the political system, in Kurdistan it is a parliamentary system and that has been written clearly in Article 1 of the Constitution Project draft. There might be different opinions on the method of electing the President of the Kurdistan Region. On that subject, I recommend to give the people of Kurdistan to have the final say on this issue and have a referendum on the mechanism of electing the president, as not the entire people of Kurdistan have affiliations to the political parties and their rights should not be taken away. I also reiterate that we have been fighting president-till-death before and will be strongly opposing it in the future.

In the end, I want to express my solution recommendations on this crisis by the following points:

1-      Solving the problems by pressures and coup-methods won’t have any results and is unacceptable.

2-      All political parties in the Government and Parliament should hasten towards an agreement on a solution based on consensus that should be in the interest of the people.

3-      In case a consensus is not reached, an early election shall be called.

In conclusion, we all should devotedly continue to protect the unity of the Iraqi Kurdistan territory and make further preparations for the self-determination right of the people of Kurdistan and a brighter future.

I also call on the dear Peshmargas not be affected by the political crises and internal disputes.



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