Iraqi children wave their national flag as they celebrate in the city of Kirkuk on October 18, 2017, after Iraqi government forces retook almost all the territory disputed between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region. (Photos by AFP)
The main opposition party of Iraq
’s Kurdistan region has called on Kurdish President Massoud Barzani to quit, urging the formation of a “National salvation government.”
“The Kurdistan presidency must be dissolved and a national salvation government be formed to overcome the current situation,” said a statement released by the Gorran, or the Change Movement party, on Sunday.
Founded in 2009, Gorran is the official opposition to the ruling two-party coalition of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The political party, under the leadership of Omar Said Ali, was one of the Kurdish political parties that were against the last month’s highly controversial independence referendum.
The developments followed weeks of simmering tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over the referendum, held on September 25 in open defiance of the central government in Baghdad.
Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani (L) sits next to Iraqi President Fuad Massum during a ceremony at the airport in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah following the arrival of Iraqi ex-president Jalal Talabani’s coffin on October 6, 2017.
Following the vote, Baghdad imposed a ban on direct international flights to the Kurdish region and called for a halt to its independent crude oil sales.
Last week, Iraq’s judiciary also issued arrest warrants for three senior Kurdish officials, who were allegedly behind the contentious plebiscite, which also faced strong opposition from regional countries, including Iran and Turkey. Iraq’s Supreme Court has already ruled the referendum unconstitutional.