ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The leadership council of the Change Movement (Gorran) on Sunday approved the draft agreement on government formation that the party along with the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) had endorsed the previous day.
Gorran’s move comes a day before lawmakers are expected to reconvene to break the months-long political deadlock and vote on the parliamentary leadership posts. The assembly is a unicameral legislature with 111 seats, with five seats each reserved for Turkmen and Christian parties and one for an Armenian party.
The agreement between the two parties – KDP, election winner with 45 seats, and Gorran, second runner-up with 12 seats – was drafted and agreed upon by their respective negotiating teams on government formation.
The draft was then sent to the leadership council of the parties for final approval. As the party with the most seats seeking to build alliances with other entities to form a new government, the KDP has already settled the question of their deal with Gorran and approved it.
Gorran lawmakers will attend Monday’s parliamentary session, a senior party member, Shorsh Haji, told local media outlet KNNC, after affirming they would participate in the new government. He noted that they had some suggestions to the draft agreement but approved the outline of the deal.
Following the Gorran announcement, the leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the runner-up in the Sept. 30 Kurdistan Region elections, was still in a meeting to decide whether they would similarly participate in the legislative session for the next day.
As the winner of 21 seats, the PUK is another entity that has been in talks with the KDP to enter an alliance to form a coalition government.
On Friday, the respective negotiating teams of the two parties emerged from a meeting with some promising results, with the KDP stating its approval of the bilateral draft agreement – the full details of which were not immediately clear – and the PUK affirming they would join the parliamentary meeting on Monday.
“We, as the KDP, had already reviewed and approved the draft agreement, but the PUK will hold a meeting tomorrow for additional consultation and make the final decision,” KDP Spokesperson Mahmoud Mohammed told reporters in a joint-briefing with his PUK counterpart.
“Later, we will [officially] sign the agreement in a ceremony,” he added.
Blesa Jabar Farman, a senior PUK member, told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday that their “main issue [with the KDP] is on the question of Kirkuk.”
She reiterated her party’s stance that they seek an “all-or-nothing agreement” that includes a deal on the governorship of Kirkuk province, an oil-rich and ethnically diverse area that has been at the heart of another dispute between the two leading parties over the past few years.
Bilateral ties between the two Kurdish parties grew especially weaker after Iraqi forces and Shia militias attacked and took over the province and other disputed territories on Oct. 16, 2017, in response to the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum, pushing Kurdish Peshmerga forces from the areas.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany