Democracy in Kurdistan Iraqi Kurdistan Politics

Barzani Imposes Deadline for Presidential Term Limits

masoud barzani extension presidential term limits

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani has called on the KRG Parliament to come to an agreement regarding his presidential term limits, which are set to end on August 20th.

“To end this crisis, I ask all parties in the government and parliament to convene before August 20 and decide what is in the best interest of the country,” Barzani said in a short statement on Sunday.

Presidential Terms Set to Expire

From 2004 to 2013, Masoud Barzani served two terms as Iraqi Kurdistan’s president. When, in 2013, the KRG found itself facing a presidential election in addition to regional threats including ISIS, the KRG parliament voted to extend Barzani’s presidency for two years.

The regional government in Erbil is currently reviewing a draft of a new constitution that includes amendments to regulate presidential term length, term extensions and more. If ratified, the draft will be put to referendum.

Support, Criticism for Barzani

In recent years, Barzani has had numerous supporters, as well as critics. His supporters have claimed that the last thing Iraqi Kurdistan needs now is a reshuffle in leadership. Barzani’s supporters have compared the current situation in Iraq to America during WWII. “We know that during the Second World War the Americans needed President [Franklin Roosevelt] to stay in office for four consecutive terms,” said Saro Qadir, a political analyst in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Critics of Barzani, and of another term extension, claim that another forced presidential term under Barzani may jeopardize the fledgling Kurdish democratic process. “Why not give the chance to a young leader who could just as effectively lead the nation against the potential threats?” said Adnan Osman, former lawmaker and political commentator.

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