Iraqi Kurdish opposition party Gorran calls on Barzani to step down

Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani casts his vote during Kurds independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Gorran, a main opposition party to Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, called on Sunday for his resignation, and for a “national salvation government” to be formed to deal with crisis pitting the Kurds and the central Iraqi authorities.

Gorran, or the Change Movement, blamed Barzani for the “disaster” facing the Kurds after the loss on Oct. 16 of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, captured by Iraqi forces in retaliation to a Kurdish independence referendum held last month despite warnings from Baghdad and neighboring Iran and Turkey.

“The Kurdistan presidency must be dissolved and a national salvation government be formed to overcome the current situation,” said a statement published by the party leadership after meeting in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya.

Gorran supports the right of Iraq’s Kurds for self-determination but it opposed holding the referendum on Sept. 25, saying the timing was ill-chosen.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli, editing by David Evans