Parliament votes to suspend Kurdistan presidency, postpone election

The Kurdistan Region Parliament has decided not to hold presidential elections in September and suspend the region's presidential post.
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Parliament of the Kurdistan Region on Wednesday, with a majority of votes, decided not to hold regional presidential elections in September and suspend the region's presidential post. The region's parliamentary election is still scheduled for Sept. 30.

In the session, both Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Gorran (Change) factions offered two draft bills to continue freezing the currently vacant post of the Kurdistan Region’s Presidency until after new lawmakers are sworn in.

Some parties had suggested the presidential election be held on Sept. 30 along with the parliamentary vote to occur on the same date as the last presidential elections, held in 2009.

The bill passed suggested that lawmakers winning seats in September should decide the destiny of the region's presidential post within the first two years of their term.

Lawmakers from the KDP, Gorran, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) voted in favor of the bill, while the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), and Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) voted against it.

The KIU, which has 10 seats out of total 111, shortly before Wednesday's vote, demanded that parliament abolish the post of the Kurdistan Region Presidency. The KIG pushed for holding presidential elections in September.

The position has been vacant since Nov. 1, 2017, when Masoud Barzani stepped down following the region's independence referendum. It should not be confused with the separate post of national president, held by a Kurd in Iraq's system of power-sharing.

Since Barzani's November resignation, the powers of the Kurdistan Region’s presidency have been distributed to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister (Executive), Parliament (Legislative), and judiciary, until the next presidential election takes place.

Editing by John J. Catherine