President Addresses People of Kurdistan, Asks Parliament to Study Possibility of Early Elections | |

Full text ofPresident Barzani’s Remarks:  

Dear Citizens, I once again extend my condolences to the families of those killed in the recent protests and wish a speedy recovery for the wounded. I call on the Presidency office and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to do everything needed to assist the wounded with medical care.

I am very pleased to see our young people air their demands and valuable recommendations in a peaceful and civilized way to the Parliament, the KRG, and the Presidency. This demonstrates their political maturity and I am really pleased to see this. I reassure you that no one loves you and cares about you more than I do. You are the children of this people, the children of this country, and the future depends on you.

Fellow citizens, holding demonstrations is a natural right and our people must be free to demonstrate and to voice their grievances. I would not like to live in a Kurdistan where its people did not live freely and proudly. My only appeal to you is to prevent protests from turning violent and hence tarnish the reputation of yourself and your Region. Since you have the right to freedom of expression and you can freely express your views, there is no need for resorting to violence and I hope that violence is avoided.

I share those voices calling for reform and social justice. Fellow citizens, since returning [from abroad a few days ago], and after looking into the whole situation, I have come to the conclusion that the situation calls for a fundamental remedy, rather than band aid solutions.

I call on the Parliament and the Government to implement the 17 points announced by the Parliament earlier and in fact to implement any other measures deemed in the interest of the Region and its people. The Government must seriously follow through with its reforms policy. I call on the Parliament and the Government to conduct provincial council elections as soon as possible and start preparations for those elections now. But I believe the real solution would be to go back to our people, since we derive our legitimacy only from the people of Kurdistan.

I call on the Parliament to engage with all sides to study the possibility of holding early general elections so that the people can make their voices heard and have the final say.

Fellow citizens, when I called for elections back in 1991, I believed, then as I do now, that people must be free to decide their future. I am proud to have played a role in bringing about democracy to Kurdistan, where we have neither a permanent ruler, nor a single ruling party, and nor a permanent parliament. But we have a people and we must go back to our people.

Thank you very much.