President Massoud Barzani should not accept prolonging his term in office without a public vote

The Kurdistan parliament has passed a law that will permit the President of Kurdistan to prolong his term in office for two years. Constitutionally, a Parliament does not have the legal right to prolong its own term. Opposition parties in Kurdistan have been outraged and have staged protests against what they deem to be the start of a “dictatorship”.

There is no doubt that President Massoud Barzani enjoys immense support and backing from the public. Even if he puts his re-election to a public referendum, it is likely that he will win.

What doesn’t make sense amid all this political fiasco in Kurdistan is the extent of ambiguity within the constitution that will allow parliament to pass a law prolonging the term of the President in office. Until now the parameters of the constitution have not been succinctly clear to the public.

One of the opposition MPs on Rudaw TV commented that he does not consider Massoud Barzani as his president or the president of Kurdistan. Mala Nuri went on to say, “There is no difference between Massoud Barzani of Kurdistan and Gaddafi of Libya”.

In an ideal democracy, members of parliament are representative of their constituents. In Kurdistan, this is not the case because MPs don’t work directly on a consistent basis with locals to serve their needs. There is little connection between MPs and voters and this division is applicable to all political parties.

The significance of Massoud Barzani to Kurdish people as a Kurdish political leader, and Pêşmerge will not be lost if he ceases to remain in power as president. Throughout his speeches in public, the president has referred to himself as a Pêşmerge (Kurdish fighter) and the legacy of his father is imprinted in Kurdish history. He will always remain to be a Kurdish political figure, regardless of how long his term lasts, and to maintain the legacy of his father – and the democratic Kurdistan that President Massoud Barzani envisions for Kurdish people, he must not accept prolonging his term in office because this would go against every principle of democracy.

The best solution in this scenario is to allow the public to vote on the president prolonging his term in office (if this is allowed within the constitution, keeping in mind the ambiguous nature of the constitution in this regard).

What do you think of this motion being passed within the Kurdish parliament?

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