Crisis due Barzani’s refusal to step down: academic / Barzani the reason of the problem !

25 May 2017 – MESOP – A professor from the American University of Tennessee, Michael Gunter said on Wednesday, May 24, that Massoud Barzani’s opposition to step down from his position as Kurdistan Region President has resulted in the continued political crisis in the region.During a two-day conference titled ‘Iraqi Kurdistan at a Crossroads: Current Issues of Domestic and Middle Eastern Politics’ held in Erbil, Gunter said the region is facing a political crisis due to “Massoud Barzani’s refusal to step down from his presidency.”

Barzani’s two-year presidential term extension expired at midnight on August 20, 2015, after which he then sought another two-year presidency term.

“[This is] despite his extraordinary two-year extension that had ended in August 2015 on top of the earlier two-four-year terms in office that ended in August 2013,” Gunter, a professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University, said.

According to Gunter, the sacking of Change Movement (Gorran) cabinet members and the blocking of the parliament speaker – a Gorran member – from entering Erbil was in an effort to preserve the presidency position of Massoud Barzani.

“The supposedly unified KRG still exhibited deep divisions between the various Kurdish parties and factions. Indeed at one time or another every major Kurdish political party has fought other existing ones,” he added.

The KRG’s major anti-terrorism forces run by two “rival” Kurdish political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) “makes the KRG’s unity even more difficult.” Massoud Barzani’s second term as president ended in July 2013 but was extended by two years by Kurdish MPs who said the region was not ready to elect a new leader at the time.That two-year presidential term extension expired at midnight on August 20 and subsequent political infighting prevented the region’s leaders from agreeing on a new president and how to appoint one.