ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan lawmakers on Monday reconvened to break the months-long political deadlock and voted on the parliamentary leadership posts, with members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) faction walking out of the assembly building.
The Kurdistan Region has a unicameral legislature with 111 seats with five seats each reserved for Turkmen and Christian parties and one for an Armenian party.
In the September regional elections, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 45 seats to take first place, while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) came in second with 21. Change Movement (Gorran) secured 12 seats and was the second runner-up.
At the start of the session, the candidates that three parties had nominated to take the place of other members who had won seats in the election took their oaths of office.
Following this, a secret ballot was held to vote on the speakership and deputyships of parliament.
Sixty-four lawmakers voted for KDP candidate Vala Fareed for the post of speaker of the legislative body. She is the first woman to be elected for the role.
Sixty-eight lawmakers voted in favor of KDP candidate Hemin Hawrami for the first deputy speaker, while 60 MPs voted for Turkmen nominee Muna Kahveci to take the post of second deputy speaker.
As per a deal between the various Turkmen parties, Kahveci will hold the post for the first two years, followed by Mohammed Sa’deddin, who will take over for the remainder of the term, a Turkmen lawmaker told Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
Now the speaker of parliament, Fareed then read a statement to the assembly as her first duty, calling for a speedy formation of the body’s various committees, and requested all factions to present the assembly with their candidates for each. She then concluded the session.
In a press briefing afterward, the now head of the KDP faction, Omed Khoshnaw, welcomed the outcome of the session, describing it as the “first key step” toward forming a new government, on which both the KDP and Gorran officially inked a deal earlier in the day.
Another deal that was expected to be formalized between the KDP and PUK seems to have been put on hold as disputes between the two leading parties linger over a key issue, that of the governorship of Kirkuk province. With the issue unresolved, the PUK decided to boycott the session, calling on the KDP to abide by a deal they had previously drafted.
“We were hoping, as [the KDP] faction, to carry out this process along with [the PUK],” Khoshnaw told reporters.
“Unfortunately, [the PUK] decided not to participate [in the session] in the last moment and presented no candidates for the parliamentary speakership.”
The lawmaker reassured the PUK, as per the Feb. 5 deal, that Fareed, a KDP member, would step down from her post as soon as the two parties finalized an agreement on government formation.
The decision to vote on the parliament’s leadership posts was made to ensure a speedy government formation process and end the months-long political deadlock, Khoshnaw explained.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany