By Miran Hussein.
Now that Massoud Barzani has ensured he is Iraqi Kurdistan’s President for another two years, many are wondering if he’s actually gunning for an even better job: President of Iraq. And if so, when will he move to Baghdad?
Through clever sleight of legislation, Iraqi Kurdistan’s President has managed to extend his term in office, which was supposed to finish at the end of August 2013, for a further two years. And now some are saying it’s just preparation for Massoud Barzani’s next job: President of Iraq.
The current President of Iraq is another Iraqi Kurdish politician, Jalal Talabani. The government of Iraqi Kurdistan is dominated by two major parties, Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party, the KDP, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, which Talabani heads. The two parties have agreed to share power in the semi-autonomous region, which has its own parliament, military and legislation- and this includes splitting important political positions.
But Talabani, generally considered the elder statesman of Iraqi Kurdish politics, has not been well for some time and locals suggest that Barzani may like to take his place soon.
Having made a big effort to remain in power until Iraq’s next parliamentary elections – slated for 2014 – he will then be able to swap the presidency of Iraqi Kurdistan for that of Iraq. In this way Barzani will retain a senior post for the Iraqi Kurdish people.
“That’s why Barzani was kept in the current job: it’s to keep the position of the Iraqi presidency open for the Iraqi Kurdish,” a senior politician and strategist with the PUK, Fareed Asrad, told NIQASH. “It is also meant to help solve the current political crisis around the region’s presidency.”
After all if Barzani is nominated for the job and has to go to Baghdad, then his old job will open up and this would resolve the conflict around the Iraqi Kurdish presidency: many believe Barzani should not be allowed to keep this job for another two years.