ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish members in the Iraqi Parliament have vowed to boycott the political process if Sunni and Shia blocs insist on denying Kurdish rights in the 2018 budget law.
During Monday’s parliamentary session, Kurdish lawmakers expressed their concerns regarding a decrease in the Kurdistan Region’s federal budget share for 2018 as Sunni and Shia blocs endorsed the budget bill without considering Kurdish interests.
Sherko Manguri, a Kurdish MP from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), told Kurdistan 24 many Sunni and Shia political parties are uniting solely to deny Kurdish rights in the budget bill, adding that “anyone who is more antagonistic toward the Kurds gets more votes.”
The PUK MP warned that if Baghdad insists on violating the rights of the people of Kurdistan and uses the budget and salaries of public employees in the Region as a political card for the elections, the Kurds will have “a firm reaction.”
Muthanna Ameen, an MP from the Kurdistan Islamic Union, revealed that boycotting the Iraqi political process is an option that all five major Kurdish parties need to consider jointly, including the withdrawal of the Iraqi President if Kurdish rights were denied again.
On Feb. 1, the Kurdish blocs in the Iraqi Parliament met with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss the Kurdistan’s share in the 2018 budget bill and other issues between Erbil and Baghdad, but Abadi had refused to address the Kurdish concerns.
“The Kurdish blocs were supposed to meet with the Iraqi Finance Ministry and Parliament’s Finance Committee; however, all efforts have gone into approving the 2018 budget bill without considering the rights of the Kurdistan Region,” Masoud Haider, a Gorran Movement MP, told Kurdistan 24.
“We do our best to prevent holding any Parliament session on the budget without taking Kurdish comments on the budget into consideration,” Haider added.
Since 2005, the Kurdistan Region’s allotted share of the Iraqi budget has been 17 percent, although Kurdish officials have claimed that, over the years, the Kurdistan Regional Government has never actually received the full 17 percent.
Kurdistan’s new allotment in the current 2018 budget draft legislation has been reduced to 12 percent.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany