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Middle East
Barzani wins Iraqi Kurd vote
President of semi-autonomous region re-elected as ruling parties return to power.
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2009 11:35 GMT

Barzani's party, the KDP, is part of the northern region's ruling alliance [Reuters]

Iraq's Kurds have voted Masoud Barzani, the incumbent president of Iraq's semi-autonomous north, back into power.

With 95 per cent of the votes counted on Wednesday, Barzani had 68.8 per cent of the ballot.

In the Kurdish region's parliamentary elections, the ruling coalition of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) won 56.6 per cent of the vote.

The two factions have dominated the region's politics for decades and have been in power since the region became semi-autonomous in 1991.

The powerful ruling parties fended off the opposition challenge from The Change list, which is headed by Noshirwan Mustafa, a former PUK official, which stood on a platform of tackling corruption within the administration.

The results come as Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, heads to Irbil, the regional capital, for talks with Barzani.

Gates hopes to help defuse tensions between the Kurdish regional government and the Iraqi central government in Baghdad over the country's natural resources.

The Kurdish regional administration's aggressive strategy for exploiting their own oil and gas fields has led them into conflict with the Iraqi oil ministry.

The Kurds have asserted their right to the oil-producing Kirkuk region and other disputed areas lying outside the current borders of their enclave.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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