World News

Iraqi Kurdistan parliament delays presidential elections by eight months

A boy rides a bicycle with the flag of Kurdistan in Tuz Khurmato, Iraq September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Elections for the presidency and parliament of Iraq’s Kurdistan region set for Nov. 1 have been delayed by eight months, the regional parliament announced on Tuesday.

The decision came after the electoral commission said on Monday that political parties had failed to present candidates for both elections amid turmoil in the region following the independence referendum it held on Sept. 25.

The proposal to delay the two elections was approved by 60 of 68 MPs who attended the parliamentary session in the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil, Rudaw TV said.

Eight MPs opposed the proposal and 43 didn’t attend, mainly politicians opposed to Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani, one of the MPs said.

Last week, Iraqi forces captured the oil city of Kirkuk and other territory claimed by the Kurds in retaliation for holding the referendum, dealing a severe blow to Barzani.

The current KRG presidency, held by Barzani since 2005, and parliament, elected in 2013, are expected to continue until new votes are held.

The loss of Kirkuk prompted calls from Gorran, the main opposition party, for Barzani to resign.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Catherine Evans and Hugh Lawson