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Barzani Asks Parties to Assign New Person to Presidency

IRAQ-KURDS-POLITICS-BARZANIKurdish President Masoud Barzani on Sunday urged political parties to get together to reactivate the parliament, appoint a new cabinet and elect another president until the next presidential elections.

Barzani, whose extended term has already expired, also commented on a strike by Kurdish teachers, saying they have full right to take to street and demand their delayed salaries from the government.

But he also reminded Kurds that the government is engulfed in an economic crisis and its financial capabilities remain limited for the time being.

“The solution to the political crisis of the region is that the (political) parties begin discussions and elect a new speaker for the parliament. The parties should also reach agreement on establishing a new government and appoint somebody for the region’s presidency until elections take place,” Barzani said in a statement.

There has been a political deadlock between Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Gorran party since tensions arose between the two in October last year, when demonstrators in Sulaimani attacked and torched several offices of the KDP. Since then parliament, whose speaker was from Gorran, has remained closed.

Barzani said that he had been called upon by several political figures, academics and others who believed that a solution to the region’s crisis must be solved through him.

“If the resolution of the Kurdistan Region’s crisis is with me, then I already invited political parties several times for a meeting, but they did not come under various pretexts. I have also asked the parties to get together and resolve the issue. Once again, they did not meet and did not hold the responsibility,” he said.

“As any other Kurdistan citizen, I would like that the problems and crisis are over. But, there are many reasons leading to the issues. Some of them are from outside, related to Iraq’s political, economic and security issues and the region as a whole,” Barzani explained.

“A plummet in the oil price, cutting of the region’s budget and the abnormal situation that has come about as a result of hosting hundreds of thousands refugees,” were the causes, he said, believing that “the other part of the crisis is due to rivalry among political parties of the region.”

“If they think there is a solution, let the government and the parties sit together and solve the problem in a transparent way,” he added.

He also referred to a call by teachers and civil servants to get paid by the government.
“Concerning dissatisfaction by teachers and civil servants, I respect their rights and they have all the right to demand their rights from the government and associated parties,” Barzani said.

“I support them, as our country has to be prosperous. But, due to the security, economic and political crises that have come about, the government’s capabilities have become limited,” he said.

The Kurdistan Region is embroiled in a serious economic crisis, due to a war with ISIS that has gone on for more than two years, and rows with Baghdad, which has refused to pay Erbil’s share of the national budget and has opposed independent Kurdish oil exports.


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