Abstract

Youth disillusionment with the heavily politicised system of governance in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is not new. What is new is that young people’s anger and frustration now present a serious challenge to the KRI’s internal legitimacy, a pillar of the region’s de facto autonomy and sustainability for nearly thirty years. The current generation, unlike their forebears, have no direct memory of the decades-long repression by the Ba’ath regime before 2003. Young Kurdish millennials have only known the Kurdistan of the current ruling class, characterised by a rigid two-party system and mismanagement. Hence, addressing the youth’s concerns means not only responding to their demands of employment, greater opportunities and better services, but also reconsidering the political legitimacy that Kurdish dominant parties have claimed for three decades.