A woman casts its vote in Kurdistan Referendum -Reuters
BAGHDAD - 8 May 2018: Elections will be held in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq on Sept. 30, Kurdish broadcaster Rudaw said on Tuesday, citing regional prime minister Nechirvan Barzani.
Rudaw is close to the Kurdistan Regional Government(KRG) based in Erbil. A federal Iraqi election, which includes the Kurdistan region, is set to take place on Saturday and its results will give clues as to the importance of the different Kurdish political parties.
KRG Prime Minister Barzani has proposed holding regional elections on September 30, Rudaw said.
The vote should elect both a parliament and a president for Kurdish regions which have gained self-rule in 1991, when a U.S-led coalition forced Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army to withdraw from them in the wake of his eight-month occupation of Kuwait.
Longtime Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani stepped down from the KRG presidency on Nov. 1 after a failed referendum on independence held in September.
Opposition to the ruling Kurdish establishment, represented by the Barzani and Talabani dynasties, has become more vocal over the past years, especially after the referendum.
The Iraqi government and Shi’ite militias allied to Iran dislodged Kurdish forces from the oil region of Kirkuk in retaliation for the vote, curtailing the oil income of the KRG and leading to an economic crisis in the region.
Unpaid public servants hold regular demonstrations in Kurdish cities, and new parties have been formed to challenge the Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.