ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Prominent leaders of two parties in the Kurdistan Region and a third lawmaker have handed over seats they won in the new regional parliament to other members of their political factions, an official document signed in early January shows.
The document came from the region’s Independent High Election and Referendum Commission (IHERC) and directed Kurdistan’s parliament to replace the three persons who “have not [taken] their legal oaths” as MPs.
The Kurdistan Region has a unicameral legislature with 111 seats with five seats each reserved for Turkmen and Christian parties and one for an Armenian party.
In the September regional elections, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 45 seats to take first place, while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) came in second with 21.
When lawmakers took their oaths of office during their first session in early November, three MPs were not in attendance. Those were head of the PUK faction in parliament Qubad Talabani, head of the newly established eight-seat winning New Generation Party, Shaswar Abdulwahid, and the KDP’s Sha’ban Ali Sha’ban.
According to the IHERC document, Zeidan Rashid would replace Sha’ban and Rahi Rahbar would take Talabani's seat, who garnered a large portion of the votes for his party. Sirwan Faraj is due to take the spot of Abdulwahid, also a leading vote-getter for his party.
Though no reasons have been stated for the move, the prominence of Talabani and Abdulwahid is the likely reason for their interest in spending their time and efforts elsewhere, with their parties still having reaped the benefits of their name recognition in the election.
Kurdistan's parliament is due to resume its session on Feb. 18, when it is expected that the body’s speaker and deputies would be voted on. This came after the KDP and PUK announced they had held a “decisive meeting” on the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and parliament leadership.
Southward to Baghdad in the national parliament, Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi on Thursday warned another party leader, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, that he would face a vote of no confidence should he miss future parliamentary sessions. Allawi, never one to frequent any but the most consequential parliament sessions, has been similarly warned in previous years.
Editing by John J. Catherine