Iraqi-Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani will step down as president on Nov. 1, Reuters reported, citing a Kurdish official.
Barzani made the announcement, in a television address, following the recent failure of the independence referendum he championed.
“I am the same Masoud Barzani, I am a Peshmerga (Kurdish fighter) and will continue to help my people in their struggle for independence,” the leader said, adamant that he would not extend his presidential term “under any conditions.”
According to TV channels Rudaw and Kurdistan 24, the parliament voted 70-23 to accept Barzani's resignation.
The Kurdish parliament was stormed by armed protesters during the vote on the leader’s resignation. Some demonstrators carrying clubs and guns forced their way into the parliament building as the session was in progress.
The has been general unrest in the region since the independence referendum prompting military and economic retaliation from Baghdad as well as threats from neighboring Turkey and Iran.
Barzani, during the address, defended the Sept. 25 referendum saying the results “can never be erased.” The leader also accused Baghdad of anti-federalism evidenced, he said, by recent attacks on Kurdish territories.
"Without the help of Peshmerga, Iraqi forces could not have liberated Mosul," he added.
Barzani assumed leadership of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in 1979, following the death of his father.
He then became president of Iraqi Kurdistan in 2005 and was reelected in 2009 – which was expired in 2013 but extended without elections amid battles against the Islamic State.