ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish lawmaker on Saturday said Baghdad has decreased Kurdistan’s budget share for 2018, warning of further punitive measures against the Region.
“For 2018, the worst budget share has been allocated to the Kurdistan Region. The rights of people in the Kurdistan Region have been largely violated by Baghdad,” Ahmed Haji Rashid, a lawmaker on the finance committee in the Iraqi Parliament, said during a press conference in Sulaimani on Saturday.
The lawmaker added that all Shia parties in Iraq agreed to decrease the Kurdistan Region’s budget share for 2018 “to 12 percent of Iraq’s total budget.”
“Iraq [Baghdad] wants to dissolve the Kurdistan Region system and deal with the governors [instead of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)],” Rashid warned.
Based on the Iraqi Constitution, Kurdistan’s budget share is supposed to be 17 percent of Iraq’s total budget.
However, Kurdish leaders have repeatedly stated that the KRG only received 13 percent before the budget share was permanently cut at the beginning of 2014 by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The Kurdish lawmaker also called on the Kurdish parties in the Region to remain united against Baghdad’s plans to divide the people of Kurdistan.
Relations between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the Kurdistan Region’s Sep. 25 independence referendum, which the Federal Government of Iraq labeled unconstitutional and illegal.
Following the Oct. 16 attack on Kirkuk, the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), along with Iraqi forces took control of Kirkuk and other disputed territories in the north of the country.
Peshmerga and Iraqi forces, along with the PMF, have agreed to a ceasefire in the past few days as negotiations have started between both sides to resolve pending issues.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany