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Barzani Says Parliament Could Hold Early Elections in Kurdistan

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TEHRAN, March 3 (ICANA) – Amid ongoing anti-government protests, Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s President Massoud Barzani called on the region’s parliament Thursday to undertake radical reforms and decide if early elections were necessary to be held.
Thursday, March 03, 2011 10:08:43 PM
Barzani Says Parliament Could Hold Early Elections in Kurdistan

“I urge the parliament to negotiate with other parties and study possibilities for early elections,” said Barzani, two days after he returned from a nearly two-week visit to Europe, reported rudaw.net.

Barzani’s televised speech, aired by television stations run by Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), came at a time when thousands of demonstrators call for reform and the dissolution of region’s government in the Sulaimani and some other parts of Kurdistan. 

The anti-government protesters are backed by Kurdish opposition parties particularly Gorran, which reiterated Thursday that the Kurdistan Regional Government had to step down.

“Our demands cannot be met by the current government,” said a Gorran statement, published by Gorran’s mouthpiece website, sbeiy.com on Thursday. “That is why we insist on the dissolution of the government and formation of a transitional government to implement the demands.”

But Barzani said that he was happy to see people demonstrating for their rights and urged the people to be peaceful.

“You are the ones to make decisions about your own fate,” said Barzani. “I am proud that I have played a role in the establishment of democracy in Kurdistan.”

“We have a system that has no everlasting president,” added Barzani. “The people are our sources of legitimacy here. Therefore, we must return to that source and allow it to make its own decisions.”

Barzani was elected by more than 70 percent of the votes in elections held in July 2009, the same date for Kurdistan’s parliamentary elections.

A local magazine reported on Tuesday that Kurdistan Prime Minister Barham Salih had sent a letter to Barzani asking him to hold early elections either in September or December.

Kurdistan has often been referred to as “the other Iraq,” for its economic boom and relative stability, which have been largely absent in the rest of Iraq.

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