Iraqi Kurdish PM fires four ministers after violent unrest: spokesman

Iraq's Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani speaks to the media after voting in Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region, about 350 km (217 miles) north of Baghdad, September 21, 2013. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - The prime minister of Iraq’s Kurdistan region has removed four members of his cabinet, a spokesman said on Monday, in an escalating political crisis that threatens to destabilize the relatively peaceful region.

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is also vice president of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which accuses the Gorran party of provoking violent unrest that recently left five people dead.

The ministers of Religious Affairs, Finance, Trade and Peshmerga forces, all of whom are from Gorran, met on Monday with Nechirvan Barzani.

“The prime minister ... asked them to leave their posts,” Kurdistan Regional Government spokesman Safeen Dizayee told Reuters. “These measures were primarily to contain the situation”.

Dizayee said Barzani would designate existing members of the cabinet to fill the posts on a temporary basis.

Reporting by Isabel Coles, editing by Larry King