Kurdish supporters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) celebrate after the closing of ballot boxes during the parliamentary election in Kirkuk, Iraq, May 12, 2018 [File:Ako Rasheed/Reuters]

Although the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) has not been hit by the wave of protests seen in other parts of the country, it too has been experiencing its own political uncertainty. Much of it has to do with factionalism within the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which along with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), has ruled the region for two decades.

Over the past few years, splits within the PUK leadership has caused instability in the areas of the KRI it dominates (mostly in the east) and escalated tensions with the KDP. This

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