Iraq - 03

Re-Electing the KRG Presidency in 2015: Options and Costs of Another Delay

In August 2015 Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani’s extended second term is due to expire. The original expiry date for the presidential term was August 2013, but this was extended with the grudging support of all parties when a political crisis loomed. Unlike in federal Iraq (where the prime minister is the chief executive) the Kurdish presidency is the senior executive position in the KRG. The KRG’s draft constitution, informally ratified by the KRG parliament when it was technically out of session in 2009, places a two-term limit on the presidency. Unless something changes, Massoud Barzani cannot technically run again.

In reality, Massoud is highly likely to retain the presidency. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is still not ready to transition to a post-Massoud leadership. KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (Massoud’s nephew and son-in-law) and Masrour Barzani (Massoud’s eldest son and national security advisor) are both too powerful to accept the other as an executive president.


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