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 People in Iraqi Kurdistan protest 2012 budget

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People in Iraqi Kurdistan protest 2012 budget  29.6.2012  

Press TV Video
June 29, 2012

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', ó People turned out in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regionís Sulaimaniyah city on Thursday to protest against the regionís national budget. The demonstration was held in front of the Kurdistan Parliament office in the city. Members of the public, MPs, journalists and activists criticized Kurdistanís government, saying the budget is not transparent.

The budget was passed on Sunday amid protests and a parliamentary boycott by opposition political forces.

President of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani has approved the region's 2012 budget, said chief of staff to the presidency of the Kurdistan Regional Government on Wednesday.

The budget has been delayed since January. Opposition MPs say there are significant gaps in the budget that give way to corruption and most of the governmentís income is unclear.

They told Press TV earlier that the budget contains projects for one billion Dinars but there are no titles for the projects. MPs from Kurdistanís two ruling parties - the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party - previously criticized opposition MPs for trying to make the budget bill fail.

The budget amounts to $13bn with a deficit of $2bn. Under a political agreement between Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, Kurdistan should get 17 percent of Iraqís budget. Kurdistan only received 10.7 percent. Kurdistanís Ministry of Finance accused Baghdad of increasing sovereign and federal expenses, as well as limiting the expenses of Kurdistan. In turn, this led to a decrease in the region's share of the budget. The federal government says it deducted part of Kurdistanís budget due to the region's decision to halt oil exports following a payment dispute with Baghdad.

Sulaimaniyah witnessed violent public protests in February 2011, partly over accusations of government corruption. Opposition parties also protested over Kurdistan's budget last year.

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