Kurdistan Regional Government

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Kurdistan Regional Government
حکومه‌تی هه‌رێمی کوردستان
Hikumetî Herêmî Kurdistan
Coat of Arms of Kurdistan.svg
Emblem of the KRG
StateIraqi Kurdistan
Appointed byPresident
Main organCabinet
Responsible toKurdistan Parliament
HeadquartersErbil, Kurdistan

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) (Kurdish: حکوومەتی هەرێمی کوردستان‎, Hikûmetî Herêmî Kurdistan) is the official ruling body of the legal system in Kurdistan of Iraq commonly referred to as Iraqi Kurdistan or Southern and Basur Kurdistan part of the greater Kurdistan country.

The cabinet is selected by the majority party or list who also selects the prime minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The president is directly elected by the electorate of the region and is the head of the cabinet and chief of state who delegates executive powers to the cabinet. The prime minister is traditionally the head of the legislative body but also shares executive powers with the president.[1] The president of Iraqi Kurdistan is also the commander-in-chief of the Peshmerga Armed Forces.[2] which is the army of the Kurdish controlled areas in Iraq. On the other hand, the Parliament creates and passes laws by a traditional majority vote, which therefore the president has the power to veto any bill.

Election process[edit]

Since 1992, the governing bodies have been primarily based in Erbil (Kurdish: Hewlêr‎, هەولێر), officially declared as the capital of the region. The KRG (abbreviation for Kurdistan regional government) parliament, or the Kurdistan Parliament is elected by popular votes. Voters are given one vote and may choose a single party from the list. The cabinet is selected by the majority party or parties. The majority party or coalition appoints and negotiates terms for the prime minister of the Kurdistan region. Ultimately the president of the Kurdistan region is directly elected by its citizens.[2]

Current cabinet[edit]

Position Name Party
Kosrat Rasul.jpg
Vice President Kosrat Rasul Ali[3] Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Nechervan Idris Barzani.jpg
Prime Minister Nechervan Idris Barzani Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq
Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Minister for the Interior Abdul Karim Sultan Sinjari Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iraq
Minister for Finance & the Economy Rebaz Mohammad Change Movement (Gorran)
Minister for Justice Sinan Abdulkhaliq Chalabi
Minister of Peshmerga Affairs Mustafa Sayid Qadir Change Movement (Gorran)
Minister for Transport and Communication Jonson Siyawash
Minister for Education Pishtiwan Sadiq
Minister for Health Rekawt Hama Rasheed
Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Muhammad Kader Hawdeyani
Minister for Endowments & Religious Affairs Kamal Muslim
Minister for Agriculture & Water Resources Abdulstar Majeed
Minister for Housing and Reconstruction Darbaz Kosrat Rasul
Minister for Planning Ali Sindi
Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research Yousif Mohammad
Minister for Martyrs and Anfal Affairs Mahmoud Haji Salih
Minister for Culture & Youth Khalid Doski
Minister for Electricity Salahaddin Babakir
Minister for Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami
Minister for Municipalities & Tourism Newroz Mawlood Amin
Minister for Trade & Industry Samal Sardar
Source: Official Website of the Kurdistan Regional Government

Other members of government[edit]

Head of the Department of Foreign Relations – Falah Mustafa Bakir

Recent elections[edit]

1992 elections[edit]

On 19 May 1992, 6 months after Kurds had gained their freedom, the first elections were held. Due to the 7% threshold the only parties which had a chance of winning seats in parliament were the KDP and the PUK political party. The election resulted in a narrow victory for the KDP, which with 45% of the vote gained 51 seats while the PUK with 44% of the vote gained 49 seats. However, due to allegations of election fraud they divided the seats 50–50 and created a unity government. The government however collapsed and resulted in a civil war breaking out in 1994. The last parliamentary meeting was held in 1996.[4] It resulted in the creation of two Kurdish states, a PUK-controlled state based in Silemani and a KDP-controlled state based in Hewler, both proclaiming themselves as legitimate rulers of Kurdistan.[5]

2005 elections[edit]

The primary goal of the 2005 elections was to end party-rule in the Iraqi Kurdistan and unify the two major parties—the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)—who fought a civil war in the mid-1990s over territorial disputes and control of the Kurdistan Region. Previously, the region was divided up by administrative provinces that were under control of either the KDP or the PUK. In 2004, the two parties created one unified list or coalition called the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan, which included several smaller parties as well. Not surprisingly, the coalition received the majority of votes (an overwhelming 90%) allowing the KDP and PUK to effectively divide key positions in government. The coalition achieved 104 of the 111 seats in parliament.[6]

In June 2012, the IKP held its first official meeting with Massoud Barzani as the elected president. After six long months, the IKP finally agreed on administration positions. In 2006, the government was selected with Nechervan Idris Barzani as prime minister.[6] The parties also negotiated terms for the prime minister. Nechervan Barzani, who is a member of the KDP, was expected to serve two years and would be replaced with a PUK candidate in 2008.

Governorate elections were held in Iraq, in 2005, including in the three Kurdish provinces. The elections resulted in a KDP victory in Hewler and Duhok with PUK a victory in Silemani. In total the PUK won the most votes during in these 3 provinces together with a total of 765,544 votes (43.4%) however they won only 48 seats while the KDP with 741,483 votes (42%) won 62 seats. Other parties won only 4 seats in Kurdish provinces. Kurdish parties also won majorities in Ninawa and Kirkuk.[7]

2009 elections[edit]

25 July 2009 election results

The latest parliamentary elections were held on 25 July 2009. Kurdistan List, a joint list of KDP and PUK, won the largest share of seats and was tasked to form the next government. Major opposition parties include Change List and Reform List with 25 and 13 seats respectively. The new prime minister, Barham Salih of PUK, assumed office on 28 October 2009. Minority Turkmen have five seats and Christians (Assyrians and Armenians) are represented with four seats. This KRG government comprised 19 ministries.[8]

In 2005, Massoud Barzani was elected as President of Iraqi Kurdistan by the parliament. In 2009, the KRG decided that the president would no longer be selected by parliament, and instead, direct elections would take place. In the 2009 elections, President Barzani ran for re-election and faced a host of opposing candidates including Halow Ibrahim Ahmed, Kamal Mirawdily, Ahmed Mohammed Rasul and Hussein Garmiyani. The election was a landslide victory for Barzani getting approximately 70% of the votes. Kemal Mirawdily came second with 25%.[9]

2013 elections[edit]

The Kurdish elections were held on 21 September 2013. The former president of Kurdistan Masoud Barzani ran once more for the presidential list.

Role in Iraq[edit]

The KRG has assumed governmental responsibility in the federal region of Iraq. As stipulated by the Iraqi constitution, Iraq will be divided into federal regions that will handle their own domestic affairs while the Baghdad central government will deal with international affairs. The single most controversial issue regarding federalism is oil. The KRG under Nechervan Barzani has signed several oil contracts with foreign states, including companies in the United States and China.[10] According to Bloomberg L.P. if it were a country KRG would rank 10th amongst countries with largest reserves.[11] While the KRG asserts that such contracts are legal under Iraqi law and the constitution, many disputes remain as to whether these contracts are legitimate.

The main Kurdish parties and Peshmerga cooperated with the US-led coalition during the 2003 invasion of Iraq that led to Saddam Hussein's overthrow. After the Ba'ath government failed, Kurdish politicians were finally represented in the Iraqi governing council. On January 30, 2005 three elections were held in the region: 1) for Transitional National Assembly of Iraq 2) for Iraqi Kurdistan National Assembly and 3) for provincial councils.[12] The Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period recognized the autonomy of the Kurdistan Regional Government during the interim between "full sovereignty" and the adoption of a permanent constitution.

The Kurdistan Regional Government currently has legal constitutional authority over the provinces of Erbil, Duhok, Slemani, and Halabja. Including the "de facto" authority over parts of Diyala and Ninawa provinces. Following the 2017 Kurdish Referendum for Independence certain miltias such as the Popular mobilisation forces of Iraq which are openly armed by the Islamic republic of Iran launched attacks that led to the Kirkuk October incident. The end result was that Kurdistan lost control over the city of Kirkuk and smaller areas surrounding the oil rich city i.e Makhmour. Many people argue that some political factions in Kurdistan such as the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan specifically Bavel Talabani of the Talabani tribe betrayed the Kurdish people and other parties as PUK gave the green light for the central government of Baghdad to attack Peshmerga forces that were initially in Kirkuk.

One particularly difficult issue yet to be resolved is the future boundaries of the region. Many Kurds wish it to be expanded to include the Kurdish majority city of Kirkuk, but this is complicated as the Assyrian, Turkmen and Arab populations of the city and the opposition of Turkey, which is concerned about the region's potential to break away from Iraq (with possible consequences for its own Kurdish minority). The final boundaries of the autonomous region are set to be decided through a number of referendums which were scheduled to be held before the end of 2007 as stipulated in the Iraqi constitution. The purpose of these referendums are to analyse whether the Arabisation policies launched by the old Iraqi government still exist and to act accordingly. However, the preparations needed for such a referendum to take place have not been made by the Iraqi central government, and the promised referendums have been postponed for up to six months.[13]

In the wake of the ratification of the Iraqi constitution in October 2005, Iraqi Kurdistan reconstituted itself as a federal region under the new constitutional framework. Kirkuk's status with respect to the federal region should, under that framework, be decided by a simple majority vote in the provinces.

The Kurdistan Regional Government has inaugurated a movement to distinguish itself from the rest of Iraq, entitled "Kurdistan – The Other Iraq", in a bid to attract investors by showing its security and economic progress amidst the Iraq War.[14]

The Iraqi Kurdistan region, has in 2005, established a sister-state relationship with the US State of Oregon.[15]

On 26 November 2012, combat between Baghdad and Kurdish-Irbil military units broke out into open clashes and required an urgent security agreement between federal and Kurdish military officials to avert further fighting.[16]

In 2013, KRG ordered twelve MD 530F helicopters for police and fire-fighting duties.[17]


Demonstration in Paris against ISIS during the 2014 ISIS Northern Iraq offensive.

From mid-2013 to mid-2014, the KRG "built up their own defenses by creating a security belt stretching more than 1,000 km (600 miles) from the Iranian border all the way to Syria – skirting around Mosul, a city of 2 million people, they appear to have no intention of fighting for the ISIS."[18] In August 2014, ISIS attacked the Kurds.

On 13 June 2014, the city of Kirkuk and the surrounding area was seized, without firing a shot,[18] by the Peshmerga and added to Iraqi Kurdistan.[19]

On 1 July 2014, Massud Barzani announced that "Iraq's Kurds will hold an independence referendum within months."[20] Although Turkey has traditionally been strongly opposed to the notion of a Kurdish state, there are now indications that modern Turkey is ready to recognize an independent Kurdish state outside of Turkey. Hüseyin Çelik, Deputy Chairman of ruling AK-party, is quoted to have said "If Iraq is divided and it is inevitable, (the Kurdish Regional Government) are our brothers. Unfortunately, the situation in Iraq is not good and it looks like it is going to be divided".[21][22][23][24]


In September, a referendum was held regarding Kurdish independence in Iraq. 92% of Iraqi Kurds voted in favor of independence.[25][26] The referendum was regarded as illegal by the federal government in Baghdad, and on 6 November, Iraq's Supreme Federal Court ruled that no Iraqi province was allowed to secede in order to preserve the unity of Iraq.[27]

On 14 November, the KRG announced it would respect the Supreme Federal Court's ruling, stating that "this decision must become a basis for starting an inclusive national dialogue between (Kurdish authorities in) Erbil and Baghdad to resolve all disputes".[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)". www.krg.org.
  2. ^ a b Constitution of the Kurdistan Region
  3. ^ "Kosrat Rasul Ali". pukmedia.co. 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
  4. ^ "Parl". Knn.u-net.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-15. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  5. ^ Lee, Andrew (2006-03-17). "Trouble in Kurdistan". TIME. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  6. ^ a b "Iraq: Sulaymaniyah Governorate assessment report". Reliefweb.int. 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  7. ^ "Provincial Politics in Iraq" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  8. ^ "Kurdistan Regional Government". KRG. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  9. ^ "AFP: Opposition set to break Iraqi Kurd stranglehold". Google.com. 2009-07-26. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  10. ^ "Sinopec bid to take part in Iraq oil deals rebuffed". Reuters.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  11. ^ "Kurdistan's Oil Ambitions". www.businessweek.com. 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  12. ^ H. Walker, T. Clark, Election in Iraq - 30 January 2005:An Assessment, Journal of Asian Affairs, Vol.36, No.2, July 2005, p.182
  13. ^ "Iraq: Kurdish Official Says Kirkuk Normalization To Proceed - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY". Rferl.org. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  14. ^ "Kurdistan". The Other Iraq. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
  15. ^ "Senate Concurrent Resolution 3, Oregon Laws 2005". Archived from the original on 2011-06-11.
  16. ^ Salem, Paul (November 29, 2012). "INSIGHT: Iraq's Tensions Heightened by Syria Conflict". Middle East Voices -VOA. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  17. ^ "MD Helicopters Receives Orders for 12 MD 530F Helicopters from Kurdistan Regional Government" AviationPros, September 24, 2013. Accessed: October 13, 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Kurds realize dream as Baghdad loses grip on north Iraq". Reuters. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  19. ^ "Struggle for Iraq: In maps". BBC. 18 June 2014.
  20. ^ Agence France Presse (1 July 2014). "Kurdish Leader: We Will Vote For Independence Soon". Business Insider. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  22. ^ "Turkey's AKP Spokesman: Iraq's Kurds Have Right to Decide Their Future".
  23. ^ "The Tide Is Finally Turning For The Kurds — Especially In Turkey".
  24. ^ "Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state?". 1 July 2014.
  25. ^ "92% of Iraqi Kurds back independence from Baghdad, election commission says - France 24". France 24. 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  26. ^ Chulov, Martin (2017-09-27). "More than 92% of voters in Iraqi Kurdistan back independence". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  27. ^ "Iraq court rules no region can secede after Kurdish independence bid". Reuters. 2017-11-06. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  28. ^ "Iraq's Kurdistan says to respect court decision banning secession". Reuters. 2017-11-14. Retrieved 2017-11-14.

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