18 Apr 2011

Kurdish Leader Calls for Reforms in Kurdistan

Massud Barzani, the regional President of the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq, called for various reforms today after protests against nepotism, corruption, and the stranglehold that the two main parties have over Kurdish politics.

Barzani asked for the creation of an integrity commission in order to check corruption and nepotism in public life as well as asking the parliament to schedule early elections. While the rest of Iraq had parliamentary elections in January 2009, the autonomous region of Kurdistan, which is comprised of 3 provinces, did not.

Mr. Barzani hinted at other reforms as well, including his insistence that media organizations and political parties declare where their funding comes from and that the selling of corporate stock should be more equitable, suggesting that only the wealthy and well-connected are able to buy stock in successful companies. Lastly, he stated that oil and gas contracts should be dealt with in a more transparent manner, as his party (the Kurdish Democratic Party) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of President Jalal Talabani have ran the wealthy and oil-rich region for much of the past.

Mr. Barzani himself, however, has not escaped the ongoing protests throughout the Middle East region, as the oppositioon has collected 50,000 signatures calling for his resignation, with demonstrations in Sulaimaniyah last month resulting in 3 deaths, which were then followed by nearly-daily demonstrations.

For the original article from France24.com, please click here.

The photo of Massud Barzani comes from Time Magazine