Kurdistan lawmakers elect legal committee, PUK boycotts session again

Kurdistan’s lawmakers held their first session on Tuesday following the elections of the assembly’s leadership last week, with the second largest party boycotting the meeting once again.
author_image Kosar Nawzad

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan’s lawmakers held their first session on Tuesday following the elections of the assembly’s leadership last week, with the second largest party boycotting the meeting once again.

Tuesday’s session served “to form the parliament’s Legal Committee,” according to a statement from the head of the legislature.

During Tuesday’s session, 73 lawmakers voted in favor of those presented by various factions within the legislature to join the influential 11-member Legal Affairs Committee.

The leading Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) took four seats, while the second runner-up Change (Gorran) Movement, the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG), and New Generation party taking one seat each.

This left two seats allocated to minority groups and another two, reserved for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), were left vacant.

The Speaker and her two deputies were voted in a week earlier by lawmakers from all factions except those of the PUK, who boycotted the session.

Deputy speaker Hawrami said that the legislature’s leadership had asked the PUK to send their candidates to the Legal Affairs Committee, but have so far received no reply.

KDP candidates Vala Fareed and Hemin Hawrami were elected as Speaker and first deputy speaker, respectively, during last week's inaugural session. The second deputy post went to a Muna Kahveci, the nominee from the assembly’s Turkmen parties.

Fareed is only interim speaker and would step down once the PUK agrees to join a session and presents its nominee for the post. As per the draft agreement between the KDP and PUK, the speakership is meant to go to a candidate, also expected to be female, from the PUK.

However, amid disagreements with the KDP over what the PUK considers a key issue in a potential deal to form a coalition government, the latter boycotted the session during which the votes on the assembly’s leadership posts were held.

Since then, the two parties have been in negotiations to address their points of contention and potentially reach a new agreement.

Editing by Nadia Riva and John J. Catherine