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Speaker of Northern Iraq's Kurdish Parliament Resigns
By Idris Okuducu and Mahmoud Barakat

Yusuf Muhammed, speaker of northern Iraq's Kurdish parliament, abruptly announced his resignation on Tuesday.

A member of the Gorran (Movement for Change) Party, Muhammed announced his resignation at a press conference held in the city of Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Last week, Gorran and the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) both withdrew from the Erbil-based Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in a show of support for anti-government rallies held in Sulaymaniyah.

One of the Kurdish region's largest cities, Sulaymaniyah -- where both parties are based -- was rocked by demonstrations last week by civil servants demanding payment of overdue salaries and an end of perceived government corruption.

Speaking at Tuesday's press conference, Muhammed said his decision was based on the "public interest".

The KRG has remained in crisis since late September, when it insisted -- despite widespread regional and international opposition -- on holding a popular referendum on regional independence.

In the immediate wake of the illegitimate poll, Iraqi federal forces moved into several parts of the country "disputed" between Baghdad and Erbil, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.


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