The parliament of Iraq’s Kurdistan region has voted to extend the term of its President Massoud Barzani by two years.
On Sunday, a majority of the MPs voted to keep Barzani as the president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) through August 2015, parliament spokesman Tareq Juhar said.
About two months ago, the KRG government announced that parliamentary and presidential elections would be held on September 21, but Sunday’s vote has reversed that decision.
The KRG opposition has rejected Barzani’s two-year extension, calling it illegal.
“We reject this extension, and I expect big protests by the people of Kurdistan against it,” said Bilal Suleiman, a member of the opposition Kurdistan Islamic Party.
The differences are said to be the result of a political power struggle in Kurdistan region.
The opposition argues that the region’s presidential law places a limit of two four-year terms on the position.
Kurdistan has been an autonomous part of Iraq since 1991. Baghdad and the Kurdistan region have been at odds over a number of issues, including oil production and lands.
The Kurds are determined to maintain their autonomy and develop their own oil resources. They have signed contracts on their own terms over the past years, causing resentment in Iraq’s central government.
Baghdad and the Kurdistan region also lay claim to a tract of land that stretches from Iraq’s eastern border with Iran to its western frontier with Syria.