Masoud Barzani to step down on Wednesday after disastrous Kurdish referendum

Masoud Barzani to step down on Wednesday after disastrous Kurdish referendum

Massoud Barzani will leave his post as president of the Kurdistan Regional Government. His resignation comes after the Kurdish vote

Iraqi Kurdistan’s leader Masoud Barzani will step down

Photo: Azad Lashkari/Reuters

Massoud Barzani will leave his post as president of the Kurdistan Regional Government. His resignation comes after the Kurdish vote for independence was soundly rejected by Baghdad.

Iraqi forces took the oil-producing province of Kirkuk on October 16, cutting the KRG off from what would have been its main revenue source as an independent state. Without the oil, an independent Kurdistan would be economically unviable.

Mr Barzani’s grip on KRG politics may not fully disappear with his resignation, as he will remain in politics by leading the high political council, a body set up after the referendum. Power will also remain in his family, though his likely successor, nephew Nechrivan Barzani, is on friendlier terms with the opposition and Baghdad than his uncle.

Therefore, the president’s departure will likely allow tensions to cool between the KRG and Baghdad. However, as long as Barzani is there to advocate for independence they will not be gone.

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