Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani informed the region’s parliament on Sunday that he would give up his position as president on Nov. 1.Barzani, who has campaigned for Kurdish self-determination for nearly four decades, asked parliament in a letter to take measures to fill the resulting power vacuum.
“I refuse to continue in the position of president of the region after November 1,” said the letter, which was published by his Kurdistan Democratic Party. “I will continue serving Kurdistan as a Peshmerga”, or Kurdish fighter.
The region’s parliament met in the Kurdish capital Erbil on Sunday to discuss the letter, in which Barzani said his presidential powers should be divided between the government, parliament and judiciary. It was not clear whether lawmakers needed to vote to accept his decision to step down.
On the other hand, demonstrators, some carrying clubs, stormed the Iraqi Kurdistan parliament building in Erbil on Sunday, angry at Barzani's decision to step down from the presidency of the region, witnesses said.
Reuters also cited witnesses saying that gunshots were heard as protesters who claimed they were “Peshmerga” Kurdish fighters forced their way inside the building.