Barzani to step down as Kurdish vote backfires

ERBIL, Iraq: Massud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, told a closed-door session of parliament on Sunday he was stepping down amid the fallout from a controversial independence referendum.
“After November 1, I will no longer exercise my functions, and I reject any extension of my mandate,” the 71-year-old said in a letter read out to parliament in the Kurdish capital Arbil. “Changing the law on the presidency of Kurdistan or prolonging the presidential term is not acceptable,” said the architect of the September 25 independence vote, which led to the Kurds losing to Baghdad’s forces disputed territory and oilfields to which they had laid claim.
Meanwhile, dozens of people have stormed Iraq’s Kurdish parliament in protest against the legislature’s move to devolve the powers of the self-ruled region’s president, Masoud Barzani. — Agencies