ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Tuesday announced that elections for the presidency and parliament would be delayed by eight months.
The decision came after the Kurdistan Region’s Independent High Electoral and Referendum Commission (IHERC) on Monday noted that political parties had not presented candidates for both elections.
The suggestion to postpone the presidency and parliamentary elections was approved by 60 of 68 Members of Parliament who attended a session in Erbil.
Eight MPs rejected the proposal while 43 others, mainly those who were previously opposed to the referendum on independence and who have called on the President and Vice President of the Kurdistan Region to resign, did not attend.
The current KRG presidency, held by President Barzani since 2005, and parliament, elected in 2013, will continue its work until the elections are held.
During a press conference on Monday, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani told reporters the main reason President Barzani did not leave his post after it expired in 2013 was to defeat the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq —an existential battle that is finally nearing its end.
The original date for the elections was Nov. 1, determined along with the Kurdistan Region’s historic independence referendum which was held on Sep. 25.
However, tensions have increased between Erbil and the central government in Baghdad in the aftermath of the vote, which saw nearly 93 percent vote in favor of secession from Iraq.
In an attempt to punish the Region for holding the plebiscite, the Iraqi government imposed a set of punitive measures and sanctions on Kurdistan, as well as military threats.
Last week, both Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia took control of the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk, which had been under the protection of Peshmerga since mid-2014 after the Iraqi army collapsed against the IS advance.
Clashes are ongoing between the Kurdish forces and Shia militias as the Iraqi government aims to regain administrative control of disputed territories.