ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kirkuk Provincial Council (KPC) members are expected to convene on Tuesday to discuss the current situation in the beleaguered disputed territory according to an official.
The head of the KPC, Rebwar Talabani, told Kurdistan 24 on Saturday that it will hold a session this week to evaluate the situation in Kirkuk as Iraqi Forces, along with the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia, maintain control of the province since their takeover on Oct. 16.
The KPC has 41 members in total, but following the Oct. 16 attack, many flew to Erbil and Sulaimani out of fear for their safety.
The Brotherhood bloc holds a majority of the seats, with 26 members including Kurds, Christians, Turkmen, and Arabs. Fourteen of them are currently out of the province they represent.
“It is an official council meeting and whoever refuses to attend will be marked absent… Our sessions are legal and constitutional, but theirs are illegal and unconstitutional,” Talabani said of the meetings currently being held by a limited number of KPC members who remained in Kirkuk.
He revealed the special session would be aimed at urging Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to withdraw all forces which entered Kirkuk after Oct. 16, namely the Kirkuk Operation Command established after the initial assault.
Some of the Council members who were able to stay in Kirkuk refuse to attend meetings convened by the KPC without the Council's head present in the province since the clashes began.
“The situation in Kirkuk is not normal. We will choose a safe place to hold the special session. The location of Tuesday's meeting will be announced once other blocks members and Council members come to an agreement,” Mohammed Kamal, the head of Brotherhood coalition in Kirkuk's provincial assembly told Kurdistan 24.
Kamal also noted that the session would not touch upon the Governship of Kirkuk. “I believe it is too early to discuss the Governor post at this time.”
Baghdad dismissed the Kurdish Governor of Kirkuk, Najmaldin Karim, for his support of the independence referendum and appointed Rakan Saeed, an Arab ethnic, as the acting Governor of the province.
Editing by Nadia Riva