The Kurdistan Region is a federated region in Iraq. Its main institutions are the Kurdistan Region Presidency, the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Kurdistan Parliament and the Kurdistan Department of Foreign Relations.
The Presidency is the highest executive office in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He represents the people of the Region on both the international and national levels, holds meetings with heads of state and government and coordinates the Kurdistan Region’s relations with the authorities of the federal government in Baghdad. Another central task of the President concerns the legislative process – all laws must be ratified by the President before being enacted.
Since 2005, the President is elected by secret popular ballot for an office term of four years with the option to run for a second term. The President is assisted by a Deputy President, who is elected by the Parliament.
Masoud Barzani was elected in 2005 by the Kurdistan National Assembly, then re-elected in 2009 by 69,6% of all eligible voters in the Region. In 2016, he announced that he would not seek another term as President. Masoud Barzani stepped down on Nov. 1, 2017.
The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq is a democratically elected administrative body of the federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq. It consists of two branches: the legislative branch, represented by the Kurdistan Parliament, and the executive branch, made up of the President, Prime Minister and other ministers of his cabinet. Based in Erbil, it administers the four governorates of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Duhok and Halabja.
The Parliament is elected through popular vote every four years. Since its establishment in 1992, the Kurdistan Regional Government has dedicated itself to acting in the best interests of all the people in the Kurdistan Region, safeguarding its ethnic and religious diversity as well as its minority population, and ensuring safety and security for all.
After the fall of the former regime, the Kurdistan Regional Government worked hard with the interim government of Iraq to create a new federal, pluralistic and democratic Iraq. Accordingly, it closely cooperates with the federal Iraqi government to ensure the application of the Iraqi Constitution.
The current government is headed by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. The current Deputy Prime Minister is Qubad Talabani.
The Kurdistan Parliament is the unicameral legislative body of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Initially referred to as the Kurdistan National Assembly, it was established in 1992 as a result of the first free and fair elections in Iraq. Its 111 members are chosen by eligible voters of the Kurdistan Region’s populace in a direct election for a term of four years. The Parliament is located in the Region’s capital Erbil.
To ensure the representation of all groups in the Kurdistan Region, several amendments were made to the Kurdistan Election Law in 2009. The amendments included designating at least 30% of mandates to women MPs. As of today, 36 of the Kurdistan Region’s parliamentarians are women, ranking it among the parliaments with the highest percentage of women MPs worldwide. Additionally, there are 11 seats reserved for the minority groups of the Kurdistan Region.
The Parliament’s current speaker is Yousif Mohammed Sadiq. His Deputy is Jaffar Eminiki.
Department of Foreign Relations
The Department of Foreign Relations was established by the Kurdistan Regional Government in 2006 following the adoption of the federal Constitution of Iraq. Since then, it has become an integral part of the regional government.
Some of the Department of Foreign Relations’ main responsibilities include the strengthening of bilateral relations with members of the international community, the promotion of trade, investment and institutional ties, as well as the promotion of the interests of the people of the Kurdistan Region abroad.
The Department of Foreign Relations is headed by Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir.