Christian minority in Kurdistan to receive ministerial post in new KRG cabinet, MP says

As a religious minority in the autonomous Kurdistan Region, Christians have reached an agreement with the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to get a ministerial post in the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet, a Christian lawmaker said on Wednesday.
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – As a religious minority in the autonomous Kurdistan Region, Christians have reached an agreement with the leading Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to get a ministerial post in the new Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet, a Christian lawmaker said on Wednesday.

In the new KRG cabinet, in addition to the major parties, the minorities are also expected to take part and receive some posts. The Kurdistan Parliament had reserved 11 “quota” seats for minorities, five of which are for Turkmens, five for Christians, and one for Armenians.

“Before signing agreements with Gorran and the PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan], the KDP held productive meetings with Christian minority leaders and promised to give governmental posts to Christians,” Klara Odishu Ya’qub, a Christian lawmaker from the Kurdistan Parliament, told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday.

She mentioned that Christians would receive one of the service ministries, without specifying the name of the department.

“Certainly, there are other posts in the government such as advisers and director-generals that we believe we have a right to share as the second component in Kurdistan,” Ya’qub said.

The lawmaker stressed that the important thing for the religious minority in the Kurdistan Region is not government posts, but rather Christians’ security, peaceful coexistence in the region, and building a stable government that equally deals with its people regardless of their ethnic and religious background.

“We as Christians see ourselves as a significant part of the Kurdistan Region, and our rights namely hinge on the case of coexistence,” she added.

The Kurdistan Region held its parliamentary election on Sept. 30, with the KDP securing 45 seats. The PUK and Gorran came in second and third place with 21 and 12 seats respectively.

Kurdistan 24 learned that the KDP had agreed to give a ministerial post from its share to the minority group, the party that rallied with a slogan of “Toward a Strong Kurdistan” in the elections.

Christian and Turkmen lawmakers in Kurdistan Parliament previously told Kurdistan 24 the two minority groups had reached a deal where Turkmens would take the second deputy of parliamentary speaker and Christians would have a ministerial post in the government.

The KDP has already nominated Masrour Barzani, the current Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), as their candidate for prime minister who will form the new regional government’s cabinet. Nechirvan Barzani, the current prime minister, has also been nominated as the KDP’s candidate for the newly-reinstated post of President of the Kurdistan Region.

The Kurdistan Parliament held a session on Wednesday where lawmakers reactivated the post of Kurdistan Region Presidency with a majority vote, a post which had been suspended since late 2017. The lawmakers also voted to amend the law to elect the president from inside the parliament, which was previously directly elected by people.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany