Kurdistan PM vows to confront rioters, support elections

Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government Nechirvan Barzani

Erbil ( Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani vowed Thursday confront unpeaceful protests as the autonomous region was rocked by two days of anti-government demonstrations over delayed payments and poor services.

Speaking during a press conference in Erbil, Barzani was quoted by Baghdad Today saying  that “protesting is everybody’s right, but when it turns into chaos, we have to put an end to that”.

At least five protesters died over the past two days when thousands protested and torched political parties’ offices at Kurdish Sulaimaniya province.

“Burning government and administrative buildings was never among protesters’ demands, there are (hidden) hands behind that,” he added.

Kurdish network Rudaw quoted him saying that “if we want to get out of that political situation, we are required to go for elections, and we are ready to provide support for the parliament and the (elections) commission to hold fair elections as fast as possible,” he said.

Barzani has recently urged parliament to finish legal procedures needed for elections within three months.

He also said he respects decisions by the Gorran (Change) and Komal movements to withdraw their representative from the government in protest at the failure to respond to demonstrators’ demands.

The street turmoil comes as Kurdistan struggles to cope with economic and political fallouts from a crisis with the Baghdad-based Iraqi government, which erupted after the region held a referendum in September on secession from Iraq.



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