Opposition calls on Iraqi Kurd leader to step down
SULAIMANIYAH - Iraqi Kurdistan's main opposition party called Sunday for the autonomous region's president to resign after Baghdad seized swathes of disputed territory from Kurdish forces in response to an independence vote.
Shoresh Haji of the Goran movement, which holds 24 out of 111 seats in the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament, said Massud Barzani and his deputy Kosrat Rasul should step down.
"The Kurdistan region's president and his deputy no longer have any legitimacy and should resign," he said.
He called for the creation of a "national salvation government" to prepare for dialogue with Baghdad and organise new elections.
Iraqi Kurds on September 25 voted overwhelmingly for independence in a poll set in motion by longtime regional leader Barzani and strongly opposed by Baghdad.
Central government forces last week swept into the oil-rich Kirkuk province, restoring it and Kurdish-held parts of Nineveh and Diyala provinces to Baghdad's control.
The rapid Kurdish retreat triggered recriminations among Kurdish politicians and prompted the regional parliament to postpone presidential and legislative polls set for November 1.
Goran on Sunday demanded the dissolution of a body set up after the referendum to "manage the consequences of the ballot".
Critics fear that Barzani, who chairs the body, could use it to retain power even after he leaves his post.