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Five Kurds quit Iraqi president's party

Five high-ranking officials from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Kurdish party resigned, citing differences over how to tackle corruption.

world Updated: Feb 14, 2009 16:15 IST

Five high-ranking officials from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Kurdish party resigned on Saturday, citing differences over how to tackle corruption, a political official told AFP.

"Kosrat Rassoul, assistant general secretary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), resigned along with four members of the political office after internal differences," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Rassoul is also vice-president of the Kurdistan region.

Questions over how to fight corruption and improve democracy in both the regional government and the PUK appeared to be among the issues that triggered the resignations, the official said.

The Kurd region, which operates autonomously from Baghdad and benefited from the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait in the form of US military protection, enacts its own laws and has its own police force.

The area has since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq enjoyed better security than the rest of the country, allowing it to attract foreign investment.

Its three provinces -- Arbil, Dohuk and Sulaimaniyah -- are ruled with an iron fist by Talabani's PUK and the Kurdistan Democratic Party headed by regional president Massud Barzani.

However smaller, rival political parties have accused the PUK and Barzani's party of accepting bribes to push through lucrative contracts.