ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Now that the Kurdistan Parliament leadership has been elected, lawmakers are expected to discuss the mechanisms to re-activate the Kurdistan Region’s Presidency, a post which has been suspended since 2017.
In late September, the autonomous Kurdistan Region held its parliamentary election, with parties competing for control of the 111-seat chamber. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won the election by securing 45 seats and was followed by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), with 21 seats, and Gorran (Change), with 12.
After months of negotiations between parties, lawmakers on Monday elected the new leadership of the Kurdistan Parliament, with Vala Fareed, from the KDP, as Speaker of the house, Hemin Hawrami as her first deputy Speaker (KDP), and Muna Kahveci as second deputy Speaker (Turkmen).
Now, parties are trying to expedite the process of electing parliamentary committees to hold regular sessions on new legislation.
Re-activating the suspended post of the Kurdistan Region President and creating a regional constitution are two of this Parliament’s main issues this term.
The presidency of the Kurdistan Region had been suspended in November 2017 when then-President Masoud Barzani announced he would end his already-extended term in the aftermath of the referendum on independence and as Kurdish parties failed to agree on a date for the regional elections.
Since then, the powers of the Kurdistan Region Presidency have been delegated to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Speaker.
The KDP, which holds 45 seats in parliament, aims to re-activate the post and has already nominated Nechirvan Barzani, the incumbent prime minister of the Kurdistan Region, for the job.
“We want to re-activate the post in parliament and vote on our candidate, Nechirvan Barzani,” Rebwar Babkayi, a KDP lawmaker, told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.
Over the past few years, there have been major debates between Kurdish parties on whether the President should be elected directly by the people in a popular vote, or in parliament.
“Based on our meetings and discussions with other parties, for now, we all agree that the President should be elected in parliament until the Kurdistan Region drafts its own constitution as constitutions normally define the political system of any country or region,” Babkayi added.
Many factions believe that legislation, as they relate to the Kurdistan Region’s Presidency and constitution, should not be brought to parliament without the prior consent of all parties.
“In order to amend the law of the Kurdistan Region’s Presidency, parties must first reach a political agreement, namely between the leading parties, which are the KDP and the PUK,” Aydin Marouf, a Turkmen lawmaker, told Kurdistan 24.
“This is a significant issue and has direct implications on the political situation in the Kurdistan Region.”
The Kurdistan Region drafted its initial constitution in 2009, but due to disagreements between parties, it was never ratified in parliament.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Additional reporting by Aras Ahmed)