For decades, the KDP of regional president Massoud Barzani has lorded over the Kurdish region.

April 25, 2013 – ERBIL-Hewlêr  – Agencies – :  Lawmakers in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region are divided over the issue of a third term of office for Kurdistan’s President Massoud Barzani, Press TV reports.

The presidential election is nearing in Iraq’s Kurdistan and Barzani’s second term is coming to an end in July. The division among Iraqi Kurds comes as Barzani has not yet formally announced his decision to run for a third consecutive term. Some of the Region’s lawmakers say a third term for Barzani is against the law.

Burhan Rasheed, a lawmaker with the Change Movement, said, “As an MP and member of the legal committee, the details of articles two, three and seventeen of the Regional presidency law are clear. The president has finished both of his terms. Legally he does not have the right to nominate himself for the election, unless they legislate law to create a monarchy system.”

However, Avin Omer, a Kurdistan Democratic Party lawmaker, said, “It’s not just the Kurdistan Democratic Party officials or just in the Kurdistan Region, but also outside of the Kurdistan Region politicians themselves know that having President Massoud Barzani is necessary for the Regional presidency of today’s Kurdistan Region. It’s not him that needs the post, but the Kurdistan Region that needs a leader like Massoud Barzani to make decisions.”

Kamal Said Qadir is the only candidate who has announced decisions to run against Barzani in the election of September.

Barzani’s political party supports a presidential system for the region, while the opposition backs a parliamentary system to limit the president’s influence. Barzani was first elected by the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament in 2005. In 2009, he was reelected in a popular vote. For decades, the KDP of regional president Massoud Barzani has lorded over the Kurdish region.

Massoud Barzani and his relatives allegedly control a large number of commercial enterprises in Iraq’s Kurdistan region with a gross value of several billion US dollars. The family is routinely accused of corruption and nepotism by Kurdish media as well as international observers. Since February 2011, till middle April 2011, thousands of protesters gathered daily in Sulaimaniyah and other parts of Kurdistan against corruption and the lording over Kurdistan region by two main parties KDP and PUK. Kurdish protestors demand the ouster of the local Kurdistan government KRG,calling for improving services and living conditions and fighting corruption.

After 62 days of protests, the Governorate of of Sulaimaniyah has banned unlicensed demonstrations in the city. Heavy Kurdish forces deployed in Sulaimaniyah city to prevent any demonstrations, and occupied the city center and other parts of Sulaimaniyah. The Security Committee in Sulaimaniyah banned on April 18 all sorts of protests.

Most of the demonstrators opposed Massoud Barzani, and the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP. Ten people were killed and more than 700 others wounded and 220 more have been arrested in clashes between demonstrators and Kurdish security forces during a wave or protests that swept Sulaimaniyah. The Kurdish security forces (Asayish) arrested and tortured a lot of activists and journalists.