Presidential elections were due to coincide with parliamentary elections in 2013. However, in the months leading to the elections the parliament extended Massoud Barzani’s term for another two years. In 2015, as Barzani's term was due to expire, debates continued as to whether it should be extended further, with supporters citing the Kurdish fight against ISIS and the need for stability in the Kurdish regional government. Others have expressed concern that a continued extension of Barzani's term could lead to a President for Life scenario.
Both Kurdish politicians and observers in the area worry that the polarizing debate over the presidency will destabilize Kurdish democracy and weaken the region in its fight against the Islamic State.
In July 2016, Barzani announced that he would not seek another term as president.