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Iraqi Kurd leader to quit

President Massoud Barzani announces he will step down after his failed independence bid

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Iraqi Kurd leader to quit

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The deputy speaker within the Iraqi Kurdish parliament has announced the resignation of the region’s president

Massoud Barzani is to step down on November first following an independence referendum which he championed but which has backfired and triggered a regional crisis.

The region’s parliament met in the Kurdish capital Erbil on Sunday to discuss the letter. A majority of 70 Kurdish MPs voted to accept Barzani’s request and 23 opposed it.

As parliament debated Barzani’s decision to stand down, some of his supporters forced their way into the building to protest against his treatment. Gunshots were heard with some protesters saying that they wanted to punish MPs.

In a bitter televised address Barzanni later defended the independence vote which had been over whelmingly supported in the region.

“The Peshmerga played a major role in the fight of the Mosul operation. And without the Peshmerga, the Iraqi army would never have been able to liberate the city of Mosul. We thought that the international community would reward the Peshmerga and the people of Kurdistan in return with independence.”

The region which has enjoyed unprecidented autonomy for years has been in turnmoil since the referendum a month ago prompted military and economic retaliation from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.

Barzani’s leaving could help facilitate a reconciliation between the two governments.