ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani on Wednesday expressed his thoughts on the Iraqi parliamentary elections and reiterated the importance of Kurdish unity in the new government.
“The unity of the Kurdish parties is essential, and we must stand ready with a single voice in Baghdad,” Barzani said during a press conference in Erbil.
The Prime Minister thanked the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and security forces for keeping peace during the elections and thanked the people of Kurdistan for their participation in the electoral process.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) came in fourth place nationally and first place in the Kurdistan Region in the election which took place on May 12.
“We still have not formally started talks on forming alliances with any party,” the Prime Minister said in response to a question about the KDP’s plans in partaking in coalitions in the new government.
“Soon, a delegation of ours will be going to Baghdad to engage with all coalitions and parties,” he continued.
Barzani emphasized that “we will not play favorites with any single coalition, and our discussions with any party will be strictly on matters that serve the interests of the Iraqi and Kurdish people.”
In regards to the visit of Brett McGurk, the US Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State (IS), Barzani said he did not sense that Washington had a favored candidate or entity from the election.
“What I felt was that they [the US] think the issue [election] is an Iraqi one,” he noted.
“The worries of the six parties must be addressed seriously by the IHEC,” the KRG Prime Minister stressed, referring to complaints of election fraud raised by Kurdish parties that trail behind the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in the polls.
Barzani also expressed his party’s readiness to recount votes manually to fulfill the demands and concerns of the six parties, emphasizing that the issue had to be dealt with by the IHEC.
“The IHEC must resolve the concerns swiftly so that we go to Baghdad with one voice,” he said.
The unity of the Kurds, as highlighted in previous statements made by the Prime Minister, is the only way for them to claim their constitutional rights.
“Kurds deserve the Presidency in the next government, but the issue of the Kurds in Baghdad is not post related,” Barzani said, repeating previous statements he had made regarding the KDP’s firm stance on their fight for the rights of the Kurds in the new administration.
“We have waited for the implementation of the constitution for 12 years,” the Kurdish leader reminded.
According to Article 140 of the 2005 Iraqi Constitution, the fate of the disputed areas between the KRG and the Iraqi government was to be decided in a referendum held in 2007. However, no such vote has taken place.
Barzani concluded by reassuring every minority in the region that his party would take every necessary measure, both in Erbil and Baghdad, to create an all-inclusive, peaceful environment where every voice is heard.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany