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Iraqi Kurdistan Elections Delayed By Eight Months

A burnt Kurdistan flag is seen in Kirkuk, Iraq, on October 16.

Parliament in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region says elections for the regional presidency and parliament, initially scheduled for November 1, have been delayed by eight months.

The announcement on October 24 comes a day after the electoral commission said political parties failed to present candidates for both elections amid tensions with the federal government in Baghdad over an independence referendum held in the region last month.

People living in areas under Kurdish control in norther Iraq overwhelmingly backed secession in the September 25 referendum that the Baghdad government rejected as illegal.

Following the vote, Iraqi government troops and allied Shi'ite militia fighters moved into disputed areas that previously were held by Kurdish Peshmerga forces, dealing a severe blow to the regional president, Masoud Barzani.

Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), has held the post since 2005. Parliament was elected in 2013.

The loss of Kirkuk prompted calls from Gorran, the Kurdish region's main opposition party, for Barzani and his deputy Kosrat Rasul to resign.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and Rudaw