ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s two leading parties on Thursday denied a recent report claiming they had reached a compromise to choose an independent politician to take the federal Iraqi government’s post of Justice Minister, still vacant after months of stalled negotiations.
Early that day, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted what they claimed to be an informed source as saying that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) had agreed to nominate an individual from either the province of Kirkuk or Sulaimani to lead one of three as of yet unfilled posts in Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s cabinet.
“What is being circulated on media outlets from names or reaching a deal on a specific candidate for [the post of justice minister] is far from the truth, and we reject it,” a senior source from the KDP told Shafaaq, following the initial report.
Recently, a seemingly official document emerged that showed Abdul-Mahdi’s candidates for the three remaining posts of defense, interior, and justice. The name that the prime minister had purportedly chosen for the justice minister was Rizgar Mohammed Amin, a Kurd of no political allegiance who presided as chief judge in Saddam Hussein's criminal trial but resigned from the position in early 2006.
The two parties are currently in talks over the formation of the next Kurdistan Regional Government's own cabinet. KDP sources familiar with the negotiations have told Kurdistan 24 that the PUK seeks an all-or-nothing agreement regarding the new regional cabinet, disputed territories, and Iraqi federal government posts.
The KDP maintains that the PUK must not mix topics and that their party would only settle deals on each issue independently of the others. However, the PUK insists that the justice minister seat belongs to their party.
“There is no deal between the PUK and KDP on handing over the ministerial post to an independent candidate,” PUK lawmaker Jamal Shkour told Alsumaria on Thursday.
“The PUK believes that the Ministry of Justice is their right.”
Editing by John J. Catherine