Iraq's Kurds to hold local elections in September

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IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi Kurds will elect a new parliament and president for their oil-rich, self-ruled region on Sept. 21.

A government statement issued on Thursday says Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdish region, approved the date and called for transparent elections.

The vote for a new 111-seat National Assembly will be the third election in the three-province region since 2005.

Following the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the Kurdish area was recognized as an autonomous region that is in many ways politically independent from Baghdad.

Since then, the two main Kurdish parties — the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Democratic Party of Kurdistan — have joined forces to rule the region.

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