Kurdistan Parliament, Kirkuk Council to convene on Feb. 18: KDP and PUK

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) held “a decisive meeting” on Tuesday on the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet and the parliament leadership.
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The top parties in the autonomous Kurdistan Region on Tuesday agreed to hold a parliamentary session on Feb. 18 to elect a speaker and deputies after the first meeting was left open for months.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) held “a decisive meeting” on Tuesday on the formation of the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet and the parliament leadership, Saadi Pira, a spokesperson for the PUK, told reporters.

Nechirvan Barzani, the deputy head of the KDP, and Kosrat Rasul, the acting leader of the PUK, supervised the meeting.

The KDP, with 45 seats, and PUK, 21, agreed to hold a parliamentary session on Feb. 18. The first session was left open since the beginning of November 2018. The parliament is expected to elect a speaker and two deputies.

The two parties together make 66 seats of the 111- seat Kurdistan Parliament following the Sept. 30 regional election.

The KDP and PUK also mentioned that in the coming days, a joint committee would start to draft a political program for the government which both parties would sign, according to the KDP statement released by spokesperson Mahmoud Mohammed.

The program will have a positive impact on the economy, energy, business, trade, foreign diplomacy, and security in the Kurdistan Region, Mohammed added.

Both KDP and PUK also reached an agreement to resolve issues related to the oil-rich and disputed province of Kirkuk, namely the governor post which Kurds claim is their entitlement based on the election results and Kurdish majority in the province.

The Kirkuk Provincial Council (KPC) had been unable to convene since the attack and military takeover of the province by Iraqi forces and Shia militias on Oct. 16, 2017, which led to over half of its members to flee to the Kurdistan Region, including the head of the Council, Rebwar Talabani.

The KDP and PUK agreed to hold the first KPC meeting on Feb. 18, not in Kirkuk, but in Erbil, where they are expected to elect a new governor for Kirkuk after Baghdad ousted Governor Najmaldin Karim in 2017 following its military takeover.

Most of the KPC’s members refuse to return to Kirkuk as they demand the Federal Government of Iraq normalizes the situation in the province and restore the local authority to its administration rather than being directly in the hands of the forces and militia brought to the province in 2017.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany